A recent wave of vehicle burglary hit the parking lot of Smith and Adams Halls last week, robbing three residents of various items.
ACU Chief of Police Jimmy Ellison received the three reports of vehicle burglary on Feb. 21. He said the window of occurrence was between 12 p.m. on Feb. 20 and 8 a.m. on Feb. 21, based on when the victims parked their vehicles and when they found them burglarized.
“Three thefts in one night is three too many, but it’s not unheard of,” Ellison said. “We may go months without a car burglary and then get half a dozen. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality we have to deal with.”
The ransacked vehicles included a Ford Explorer and a Ford Bronco, both parked on the Smith Hall end of the parking lot, and a Honda Civic, parked in a more central location of the lot.
Samantha Pettit, sophomore special education major from Vancouver, Wash., was in class when a friend alerted her that her Honda Civic had been broken into.
“I was just angry because it’s very violating,” Pettit said.
Pettit said she was relieved that her stereo wasn’t taken or anything else of serious importance, however.
Between the three vehicles, the stolen items included a wallet, a navigation system, a gas card, a video game, an assortment of CDs, Converse tennis shoes and a map of Dallas.
Ellison said although the ACU Police Department cannot identify any potential suspects, it is confident that a non-affiliated campus individual committed the three crimes.
“In an incident like this, there might have been four or five other vehicle burglaries in town in the same night,” Ellison said. “This indicates that it’s not a student but a person who is targeting other parts of the city, as well.”
Weekly offense data from the Abilene Police Department suggests that burglary of motor vehicles is a growing problem.
Ellison said it is imperative that students do three things: lock their vehicles, hide their valuables and report any suspicious activity.
“We’re on duty 24/7, and we would love the public’s assistance,” Ellison said. “That’s why we have a police department; let us check it out, and if it turns out to be nothing, no harm, no foul.”
Ellison said students have a tendency to be over-trusting of potentially suspicious individuals and are reluctant to report them.
“Students may not see the potential criminal element in certain activities they witness,” Ellison said. “But when we get a call and respond to it, that one piece of information may have been just what we were looking for.”