Three vehicles, including one belonging to a Security and Protective Services (SPS) officer, were vandalized Sunday afternoon while parked in lots behind Longbrake Wellness Center. All three vehicles suffered smashed windows, and two of the three were also robbed.
The break-ins are believed to have occurred between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The first car to be hit, a Dodge Neon, was noticed at approximately 1 p.m. when a passerby reported that the car’s front driver side window was broken. The owner of the Dodge is reportedly an SPS officer, but the Voice was unable to confirm the name of the individual.
Roughly an hour later, at 2:12 p.m., a car alarm went off in Lot 7, alerting SPS to the other two break-ins. A student’s Toyota (the Voice could not confirm the vehicle’s model or the name of its owner) had been robbed of its stereo system via the rear passenger side window, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the source of the alarm, suffered a broken rear window on the driver side, though nothing was reported stolen.
The Jeep is owned by Erin Fulcher ’18, who was alerted to the break-in by SPS while eating lunch with her family in Canton.
“I was surprised because of where my car was,” Fulcher said. “It’s basically in the Security parking lot.”
Director of SPS Steve Glick speculated that the Dodge was the first to be vandalized, followed by the Toyota. He also thought that it was the Jeep’s alarm that finally scared off the perpetrator(s).
“My gut tells me it’s probably the same person or persons” responsible for the damage to all three vehicles, Glick said.
This incident comes only three weeks after a similar one in which seven cars were damaged with rocks in the Gault Schoolhouse parking lot. In that case, one of the vehicles appeared to be missing several small items, including gloves. To date, vandalism of this nature has been attempted on at least 10 vehicles parked in campus lots.
Glick said that it is “a fair assumption” to connect Sunday’s events with the Gault Schoolhouse vandalism, adding that the City of Wooster has also seen a rash of vehicle break-ins recently.
At this time, SPS has no suspects for any of these incidents, in part because there are no security cameras in either of the parking lots that were affected.
“It would be valuable for us to go look at cameras,” said Glick. “I might be able to identify somebody, as opposed to right now — I don’t have a clue whether it’s a college student, whether it’s a non-college individual, or some combination thereof.”
Glick indicated that putting up additional cameras (or, in the case of Gault Schoolhouse, turning on the existing cameras) would be “brought up in the conversation eventually,” but did not seem optimistic that action would be taken quickly.
“Nobody has approached me about adding the cameras or re-hooking up the cameras that we have,” he said.
The College has also suffered a spate of thefts from residence halls and academic buildings in the past few weeks; stolen items have included bicycles, laptops and other valuables. Glick urged students to be vigilant and act as the eyes and ears of SPS.
“Report suspicious persons and all incidents to Security ASAP,” he said. “We depend on information from the community, and that’s invaluable.”
Basic precautions, such as locking vehicles, checking on vehicles regularly, and storing valuables out of plain sight in the vehicle are recommended to prevent break-ins.