More car burglaries have taken place since the three break-ins on the night of Sept. 20.
There have been three car burglary attempts and one successful theft on campus since Oct. 1. The culprit attempted to steal the cars by tampering with the steering column. One of these attempts was successful as a student’s pickup truck was stolen from the parking lot between Mabee Hall and Edwards Hall at 5 a.m. Oct. 9.
Other burglary locations include Smith Adams Hall, University Park Apartments, EN 13th Street and College Drive.
Tuesday afternoon, Chief Ellison sent out a campus-wide email notifying students about this trend in car burglaries over the last few weeks.
Car burglaries are not unusual on campus, said Jimmy Ellison, ACU chief of police. However, these are not typical burglaries.
“It is unusual to have people try and steal the car itself,” he said. “It’s critical that people lock their cars to keep this from happening.”
The suspects have been caught on camera multiple times. The pictures have not been released to the public because the incidents are under investigation.
The suspects are going from car to car, typically in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning, pulling on handles to see if the vehicles are unlocked, Ellison said. If the vehicle is unlocked, they get inside and rifle through things left inside, taking items such as sunglasses, iPods and navigation systems.
In response to the recent spike in the rate of break-ins, ACUPD has increased patrols and added more overtime patrols at night in areas prone to burglary.
“The biggest key is locking your car and reporting suspicious activity,” Ellison said. “We’re doing our part. Students have got to do their part. It’s a crime of opportunity, and we have to stop giving that to them.”
ACU is not the only place where burglaries have increased in recent months.
The increased rate of break-ins corresponds to an increase city-wide, Ellison said.
In the past, about 70 percent of car burglaries in Abilene occurred when cars were unlocked. Recent numbers show that percentage has risen to about 82 percent.
“ACUPD hasn’t analyzed the data yet, but we expect the numbers on campus to reflect those in the city of Abilene,” Ellison said.