Car damages, thefts rage during and after spring break

Also, University Dining Services lost bags of money from Northrop Auditorium.

Several students were unpleasantly surprised when they discovered their vehicles had been vandalized or broken into when they returned from spring break. Damage occurred to cars parked at the University of Minnesota Child Care Center , University Medical Center , Fairview and two sites in Dinkytown, including an incident Sunday that left three windows broken in a studentâÄôs car, according to University police reports. At least 11 cars were damaged in nine days, according to University police, four of which had items stolen from them. Theft and vandalism on vehicles has been a problem on-campus for years, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. A man that parked in the University Medical Center parking ramp had the stereo stolen from his car March 15, according to a police report. Thieves often target parking ramps because it is easy to walk in and out, Miner said. Parking ramps have video surveillance, which Miner said helps deter and prosecute thieves. Even so, thieves often take advantage of vehicle ownersâÄô trust. Contract surface parking lots require access cards for cars to park, which Miner said helps reduce âÄúdrive-upâÄù thefts. Before the card readers were installed, people would often drive around lots looking for items to steal, he said. A thief used a pry-bar to break a 48-year-old womanâÄôs window and steal her purse while parked outside of the University Child Care Center March 13, according to a police report. Thieves tend to target child care centers because when parents pick up their kids they often leave belongings in the car, Miner said. Six cars got their tires slashed while parked in the UniversityâÄôs Como Student Community Cooperative lot March 12, a police report stated. James Robertson , a 27-year-old University research assistant living in the complex, owned one of the cars. Robertson, who lives in the complex with his wife and 8-month-old son, said he feels safe in the housing complex. However, he has concerns over some police procedures. âÄúI think there could be more [police] patrols,âÄù Robertson said. âÄúOne Mustang had three tires slashed.âÄù

Caper at Northrop

Police recently began investigating a March 15 theft at Northrop Auditorium where several bags of money belonging to University Dining Services âÄî each containing $250 âÄî were taken from a safe, according to police. Miner was not sure exactly how much money was stolen. The theft occurred during a Sunday morning youth dance concert. UDS was catering the event and running concession stands at the time, Sally Dischinger , Northrop operations manager, said. The room that housed the safe, located on the ground floor of Northrop, was left open between approximately 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to the police report. The employee that discovered the theft could not remember if she had locked the safe. Miner said the case will be difficult to investigate because there is âÄúnot much to go on.âÄù Police were unable to run fingerprints on the safe because an employee opened the safe to count the money after the money was discovered missing. There was no video surveillance available in the area, which Miner said will make the investigation difficult. âÄú[The investigator] will talk to staff about if there is any more information,âÄù Miner said, âÄúand ask employees about possible suspects.âÄù UDS was not able to be reached for comment regarding the incident. And, as money was lost, a computer was discovered. A custodian found a laptop computer within a basement office paper recycling bin while searching for the missing money bags later that afternoon.