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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

10 motor vehicles vandalized on campus

Between Friday, April 11 and Monday, April 20, 10 incidents of malicious destruction of property on motor vehicles in NMU  parking lots were reported.

Nine of the 10 reports of destruction were likely to have occurred during the weekend of Friday, April 17 according to the NMU Public Safety activity log and Public Safety Lieutenant Don Peterman.

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“They probably happened all about the same time and it could be the same group of people,” Peterman said. “But some people aren’t at their car for days and others more frequently, so it’s hard to tell.”

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Peterman said it is likely it was the same group of people due to the locations of the reports. The parking lots where nine of the 10 destructions were reported include lots 16, 20, 26 and 46, according to the activity log.

Most of these lots are near the residence halls on campus. Lot 16 services residents of Hunt, VanAntwerp, Gant and Halverson Halls. Lot 20 is across Lincoln Street from Gant Hall and near the Lincoln Apartments. Lot 26 is across Elizabeth Harden Drive from Spalding Hall and near the science buildings. Lot 46 is off Wright Street across from Hunt Hall.

Since the reports happened, a formal investigation has been launched, Peterman said. An advantage for Public Safety in finding the perpetrators will be if any of the destruction was caught on camera.

“Our buildings are heavily monitored and we hope by next fall to have every angle of the parking lots covered,” Peterman said.

Peterman said Public Safety is still unsure if the perpetrators were NMU students, high school students or other community members. Consequences for the perpetrators are likely to include suspension from NMU, criminal charges and even possible felonies depending on the amount of damage in a total dollar figures.

“It could really mess their career up,” Peterman said. “Sometimes people do things not thinking about the damage they are causing other people. If a car isn’t insured, a student may not have money to repair it.”

Two female students who share their mother’s car were among the victims of the vandalization. Their mother, who lives over eight hours away, has been in the hospital for eight months and had surgery the day before the car was vandalized. The damage included dents and scratches on the hood, which will now likely have to be replaced, and scratches on various parts of the car.

“I didn’t know how to tell my mom because I didn’t want her to worry about it,” the student said. “This is just another thing we don’t need right now. I wasn’t expecting people at NMU to act like this.”

It is likely the students’ family will pay some money out of pocket for the damages, the students said.

The students said they don’t feel comfortable parking the car in the residence hall lot anymore and have been parking at the Public Safety lot instead.

The North Wind is not naming the students because of possible retaliation and to maintain privacy of the family.

During nearly the same time period last weekend in Lot 46, two reports of larceny from a motor vehicle were also reported.

“There isn’t enough of us to be in every lot all the time,” Peterman said. “We do hire students to go through the lots as well but they can’t get every lot at the same time either. The message for students is we need their help. If you see something suspicious, everyone carries a cell phone now, call 2151.”

Peterman also advised students to be sure to lock car doors and not to keep property in a car out in the open. He advised students to either take the property out of their cars or keep it out of plain view. During the last week of classes and finals week, Peterman said items such as laptops and textbooks should be diligently monitored by students. These items are high priority for theft at the end of each semester because they can be sold for cash. Since April 8, there have been three reports of larceny of personal property, one of which was specifically reported as theft of a laptop.

“Crime tends to increase during these weeks because students think if they take it now and take it home, the chance to catch them is slim,” Peterman said.

However, an NMU Bookstore policy is in place to help prevent the selling of stolen books, Peterman said. If a student has a textbook stolen from them and they report it to Public Safety, there is a measure in place to track that stolen book. As a result, if someone attempts to return the book, the NMU Bookstore and buyback staff will be alerted of the fact and can verify if the student actually owned the book.

Paul Wright, the assistant manager of the NMU Bookstore, said an important factor in retrieving a stolen book through this policy is if there is something inside of the textbook to identify it as belonging to that particular student. Writing a name or initials on the inside of the front cover, highlighting passages in a certain color or even more simple signifiers can help the Bookstore retrieve a stolen book, Wright said.

The more specific the information on the stolen book is, the more likely the buyback staff is to catch a stolen book, Wright said.

“This policy has been around as long as we’ve had computers here,” Wright said. “Lost books are actually still more prevalent than stolen books.”

During residence hall move out, Peterman advised students not to leave their belongings unattended.

“Don’t give someone the opportunity to take your property,” Peterman said.

Anybody who has any information on the destruction of the vehicles can contact Public Safety directly or can anonymously submit tips through the crime tips page on the website: http://www.nmu.edu/publicsafety/node/81.

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