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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Move-ins prod break-ins

    A series of 13 car break-ins, occurring mostly at the Main Gate Parking Garage during the second weekend of August, have prompted more thorough security as policecontinue searching for suspects.

    The targeted vehicles, discovered by an on-patrol officer at Main Gate, 815 E. Second St., belonged to students who were moving items into their dormitory rooms during early move-in on Aug. 15, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, public-information officer for the University of Arizona Police Department.

    High-priced items, including flat-screens TVs and DVD/CD accessories, were among the items stolen, he said, adding that the goods had been left in plain sight.

    Although the majority of the break-ins occurred at Main Gate, other thefts occurred at the Park Avenue Parking Garage, 1140 N. Park Ave.; Sixth Street Garage, 1201 E. Sixth St.; and the Highland Avenue Parking Garage, 1240 N. Highland Ave, Mejia said.

    Break-ins may have also occurred at the Cherry Avenue Parking Garage, 1641 E. Enke Drive, he added.

    To help prevent break-ins, Parking and Transportation Services officials have hired workers specifically to patrol certain garages in golf carts throughout the day, said David Heineking, PTS associate director.

    “”Parents and students are concerned about campus safety,”” Heineking said. “”We have four safety specialists on patrol, and when thefts occur we redirect our staff to spend more time watching those areas.””

    In addition, UAPD patrols 24 hours a day, Mejia said.

    Because police did not receive many calls about the break-ins, they have no descriptions of suspects and are waiting to receive data that will come from fingerprinting.

    “”We have physical processing, and often that takes a while because car break-ins don’t rank as highly as violent crimes,”” Mejia said. “”Sometimes (those results) will give us new evidence, but that could be months and months.””

    Elizabeth Lowe, an elementary education senior, said she has parked in the Main Gate Parking Garage in the past.

    “”I had not heard about the break-ins,”” she said, “”but I am still going to park there because there can be break-ins at any garage.””

    To help prevent their cars from being broken into, UA students and employees can buy a steering wheel lock at a discount at UAPD, 1852 E. First St., Mejia said. The lock makes it hard to break into the car, which allows time for someone to spot the theft and call for assistance.

    A UAPD study of stolen cars and their contained valuables found that in more than half of theft cases, the car doors were unlocked with the keys in the car, he said.

    Brendan Fry, a math senior who parks in the Sixth Street Parking Garage, said he is only somewhat concerned about the break-ins because he feels the situation is mostly out of his hands.

    “”I always try to lock my car and try to keep my valuables out of the way,”” he said, “”but at the end of the day there’s not a lot you can do about it except hope that people don’t suck.””

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