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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Thieves target Jeeps at the UA

    A Jeep Wrangler sits unattended on the third floor of Tyndall Avenue Parking Garage. UAPD reported a recent increase in auto theft last week, apparently targeted at Jeep Wranglers.
    A Jeep Wrangler sits unattended on the third floor of Tyndall Avenue Parking Garage. UAPD reported a recent increase in auto theft last week, apparently targeted at Jeep Wranglers.

    Seven students with Jeep Wranglers were victims of auto theft or attempted theft last week, according to the University of Arizona Police Department.

    Three of the vehicles were stolen on campus between Feb. 28-March 1.

    Another four theft attempts on Jeep Wranglers were reported to UAPD during those two days.

    Police recovered one vehicle March 1.

    UAPD officer Andrew Valenzuela has seen Dodge Neons, Ford and Dodge trucks and Hondas targeted for theft on campus, but this is the first time he has ever seen such a high volume of Jeep Wranglers targeted by criminals, he said.

    The Jeeps stolen last week had soft tops, which can make them easier to break into, depending on how the top is secured, Valenzuela said.

    None of the vehicles were secured with a wheel lock, he said.

    Although no anti-theft device is fool-proof, some, like steering wheel locks and engine-disabling devices, can make vehicles more difficult to steal, he said.

    UAPD usually receives two or three reports of auto theft and attempted auto theft a week, according to a 2005 UAPD Campus Watch Alert.

    Valenzuela said UA community members can join the campus “”Watch Your Car”” program to help prevent theft. The program provides people with car decals, which allow police to pull over the vehicle between 1-5 a.m. to make sure the owner is driving the vehicle.

    On Saturday, UAPD

    Students who are leaving town for spring break may want to have a friend check on their vehicle and remove items of value, including stereos, to prevent theft.

    The Arizona Automobile Theft Authority loaned the etching equipment to UAPD for the event, but UAPD is trying to get a grant to purchase the equipment so police can provide the service every week, Valenzuela said.

    Students who are leaving town for spring break may want to have a friend check on their vehicle and remove items of value, including stereos, to prevent theft, he said.

    Officers usually check on all surface parking lots and garages at least once during their shifts and will continue to do so during spring break, he said.

    Valenzuela also recommends students read the spring break travel-related information at www.travel.state.gov for safe-traveling tips.

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