Students lose electronics, CDs in burglaries

by Justin Costley

While University student Ryan Swiderski and his roommates were sleeping Oct. 3, one or more unknown intruders burglarized their house at 728 8th Ave. S.E. of nearly $4,000 in electronic equipment.
The burglary occurred sometime between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. and wasn’t discovered until Swiderski woke up for class and found the back door propped open.
Minneapolis police reports state the intruders entered the house through the unlocked window of one of the roommates who lives on the first floor and was not home at the time of the burglary.
After taking the equipment, the thieves exited through the back door.
The first-floor window entry is of particular interest to Swiderski because roommate Jamie Nelson, who resides on that floor, had stayed somewhere else that night.
“I don’t know if it was just coincidence that she wasn’t there that night, or if they knew that she wasn’t going to be there,” Swiderski said.
Despite three other roommates being home at the time of the break-in and one of them waking up and going downstairs to the bathroom around 4 a.m., no one heard or saw anything unusual.
It wasn’t until Swiderski entered the living room before leaving for class that he noticed something amiss.
“It was kind of shocking,” Swiderski said. “When you look in there and you see all the speaker wire just hanging loose and the cables, and everything is just gone, it’s something hard to swallow.”
Items stolen include a 27-inch television, a stereo receiver, a VCR, 150 compact discs, a Super Nintendo and a bike.
Replacement value for the items could reach $4,000, but neither Swiderski nor his roommates, who have lived at the house for only a month, have renter’s insurance.
Though they are checking to see if their possessions might be covered under one of their parents’ homeowner’s insurance policies, prospects for replacing all of the stolen equipment are not good, the roommates said.
Roommate Kris Engebretson lost his favorite mode of transport to and from the University when his bike was stolen.
“I’m financially burdened myself, so I’m going to have to get some more miles out of my shoes,” he said.
Besides learning to live without some of the electronic equipment taken in the burglary, Engebretson and his roommates are changing the way they look at safety issues within their home.
“I’m definitely thinking a little different about living here,” Engebretson said. “We feel totally invaded. They could’ve done anything to us while we were upstairs.”
Ironically, the roommates had taken steps to make the house safer before the burglary.
Shortly before the theft they requested new back door security lights from the house’s management company but had not heard back when the burglary occurred.
Despite the scare, Engebretson said they can take steps to inhibit future theft.
“We don’t leave this house unless it’s totally locked down,” he said. “If we take more precautions, get some more safety features in here, we’ll be safer.”

In other police news:
Minneapolis police responded Oct. 3 to a report of a burglary at a residence at 1704 Como Ave. S.E.
The burglary occurred sometime between 10:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and 1 a.m. Oct. 1., while Matthew Teske and his four other roommates were away for the night.
Included in the theft were a compact disc case, about 150 compact discs, and some video cassettes.
Total loss in the burglary is nearly $2,000.
Police reports state no forced entry into the home. Teske said the front door was unlocked at the time and he believes that is how the burglars entered the house.
Teske, who owned all of the compact discs worth nearly $1,800, said he does not have renter’s insurance.
“I’m not too happy about it,” Teske said. “That’s a lot of money I lost, and I don’t have any insurance on them. I guess I’ll be starting over, building my collection up.”
He said everything stolen was in a pile near the front door and the thieves ignored the stereo and other equipment next to it.
Police have no suspects in the case.