Students warned of thefts in garage
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 20:04
In response to a spike of break-ins and thefts in a campus garage since January, Duquesne Police are warning students, professors and staff who park in the garages to not leave valuables in their cars in plain sight.
The Duquesne Police posted a crime alert on March 29 in the Forbes and Locust Garages following “a series of randomly occurring vehicle break-ins” that occurred in the Forbes Parking Garage during a January Penguins game at Consol Energy Center and the March WPIAL high school basketball championship in the Palumbo Center.
Duquesne Public Safety Lt. Michael Sippey said police posted the crime alert flyer in anticipation of increased parking traffic during Pittsburgh Penguins playoff games, which began April 11.
Sippey said the police had to post an alert in accordance with the Clery Act, a federal act that requires all colleges and universities that participate in financial aid programs to disclose information about crime on or near their campuses.
“We [are expected to] provide notice of ongoing patterns of crimes or single serious crimes which would be of concern to our students,” Sippey said. “What happened in the parking garage was that we observed an irregular pattern of thefts … inside cars.”
According to Sippey, two cars were broken into and a third vandalized during a Jan. 17 Penguins game. Two other cars were broken into during the March 3 WPIAL high school basketball championship games.
The perpetrators broke car windows and stole valuables from car seats, including laptops and camera equipment. All five cases occurred in Forbes Garage.
Sippey believes the perpetrators are not affiliated with Duquesne. He also said no arrests have been made.
“It’s visitors paying the fee to go to games,” Sippey said.
Laura O’Malley, a senior media management and production major, said that she has been more careful about leaving valuables in her car in the Locust Parking Garage after she saw the crime alert flyer.
“Before, I didn’t actually think about my car being [broken into],” O’Malley said. “I’d leave my GPS out, but now that I know, I take my stuff out of my car.”
O’Malley said she takes care in ensuring her valuables will not be stolen.
“If I do have to leave anything in [my car], I definitely cover it up or hide it in my trunk,” she said.
Andrew Neil, a freshman physics major, said he has started taking precautions to prevent his car from being broken into and plans on doing the same when he parks on campus, regardless of the crime alert.
“I would feel safe, because I usually don’t keep electronic devices sitting out where anybody could see it,” Neil said.
Sippey said police will “focus was solely in the Forbes garage,” but Locust patrons needed to be informed as well because “it is easy to go from one garage into the other.”
Neil said he thinks avoiding the possibility of being a victim of car theft is simple.
“I would just say to keep all your money, valuables and such out of [your car],” Neil said. “I think if you do that, you really have nothing to worry about.”