Car thieves hit parking garages

Don’t forget to lock your doors.

The office of Campus Police is investigating a recent string of property thefts from the College’s parking lots. The illegal shopping spree has already netted criminals a motorcycle, a 1998 Nissan and several personal items belonging to students, police said.

Most of the incidents have occurred in Lot 6, the parking deck frequented by commuters. Campus Police Chief John Collins said the accessibility of Lot 6 makes it a prime target.

“Lot 6 is the most susceptible to it because it has more people going in and out of it and easier access,” Collins said.

On Sept. 9, a student reported his 1998 Nissan had disappeared from the second deck of Lot 6. When he went to pick up his car from the parking lot around 4 p.m., he noticed it was missing and called police.

The Nissan was the second vehicle to vanish from campus in two weeks. According to police reports, a Honda motorcycle was snatched Aug. 29 from Lot 12, the parking deck overlooking Lake Ceva near Centennial Hall.

Ewing police contacted Campus Police to report the motorcycle had been involved in an accident off-campus and transported to Ewingville Auto. Campus police said the alleged thief fled the scene of the accident.

And, on Sept. 8, a student claimed “someone” entered his car on the first floor of Lot 6 and removed “personal items” somewhere between 9:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m., reports said.

Collins said he believes the same suspect, or group of suspects, has been involved in each incident, but declined to comment why.

In response to the property crimes, Collins said Campus Police have beefed up their patrols of the commuter lots, but he also asked students do all they could to help stop the car-side criminal or criminals.

“Try and make sure everything is locked,” Collins said. “Park where the car is visible, where there is lots of foot traffic. If you see somebody that appears to be walking around the lots without a book bag, maybe looking at the cars, you should notify (Campus Police) immediately.”

Students who regularly park in Lot 6 had mixed reactions to the reported thefts.

“It is pretty accessible,” Miguel Garcia, senior health and exercise science major, said of Lot 6. “You don’t know who belongs at the College. People are always just walking around here.”

Others were less concerned.

“I’m not really that worried, to tell you the truth,” Christopher Evans, a junior history major who commutes to and from the College, said.

Senior chemistry major Carly Cosentino said she only worried about leaving anything in Lot 6 after the sun goes down.

“I feel safe during the day,” she said. “But I have friends coming to visit this weekend and I wouldn’t let them park in here overnight.”

James Queally can be reached at