Car break-ins on the rise

Adelle Whitefoot

A series of vehicle break-ins has been reported on Northern Michigan University’s campus and the surrounding Marquette area over the past couple weeks.

Five break-ins were reported to Public Safety in the past week. Both the Marquette City Police Department and Public Safety are reminding people to lock their vehicle doors. The on-campus apartment students received an e-mail telling them about the recent vehicle break-ins. Most of the vehicles that were broken into were left unlocked, said Public Safety Investigator Victor LaDuke.

“What we recommend to people, first of all, is lock the doors,” LaDuke said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be away from the vehicle for five minutes or five hours.”

LaDuke said that they also recommend that people do not leave valuable objects in plain view.

“The thieves are obviously walking around, looking in vehicles, and if they see something they want or see that the doors are unlocked, they are opening (the vehicles) up,” LaDuke said.

Even though many vehicles have been broken into on campus, it is happening throughout the Marquette community, LaDuke said. On occasion, entire neighborhoods have had their vehicles broken into and gone through, said Detective Capt. Gordon Warchock from the Marquette City Police Department.

“(The thieves) are stealing anything of value they can find,” Warchock said. “Whether it’s stereos, change, GPS systems or sometimes medication left behind.”

On Jan. 13 and 14, the police department had four cases of vehicle break-ins reported over the course of those two days, Warchock said.

“Sometimes we have a lot more than that (reported),” Warchock said.

This type of theft usually happens in patterns or trends, said Warchock. He said the thieves are usually on foot and between the ages of 17 and 25 years old.

“Very, very few of these cases have been reported that the windows have been broken to gain entrance,” Warchock said.

Robert Strieter, a freshmen music education major, had his vehicle broken into last week. Strieter’s vehicle was parked in Lot 1 and his doors were locked.

“I went to my car because I was going to the PEIF, and I noticed that a lot of the stuff that I kept around my radio was shifted around and kind of thrown everywhere,” Strieter said. “It was clear that someone had been in my car.”

Strieter said that nothing was taken from his vehicle, but when he walked up he noticed his door was ajar and he could tell that the thieves were trying to steal his satellite radio.

“(I suggest) that students make sure their doors are locked and check to see if their stuff has been messed with,” Strieter said.

No arrests have been made yet regarding the vehicle break-ins. The police department does have some suspects they are looking for and have sent out a Nixle Report of a picture of some people of interest. A Nixle Report is a web tool that the police department uses to send out reports about what is happening around the community.