Police give parking advice after rare on-campus car theft

Tips include parking in ramps and turning off unattended cars.

by Koran Addo

University student Emily Mecklenburg found an unwelcome surprise Sunday morning when she discovered her car was no longer parked where she left it.

She parked her car on the east side of Centennial Hall early Sunday morning, only to find it missing five hours later, according to a University police report.

She immediately called impound lots, thinking the car had been towed. Later she received a call from her parents, who told her New Brighton, Minn., police had found the car.

University police Capt. Steve Johnson said car thefts are among the least common crimes on campus; so far this year there have been four. But Johnson said students can take simple steps to avoid becoming a car-theft victim.

“Don’t leave your car running, don’t leave your keys in it, park in ramps where you have to pay at the exit,” Johnson said. “In my experience people don’t want to steal a car and then have to pay to leave.”

Johnson said many of the stolen cars are left parked for long periods of time, but where a car is parked can also make a difference.

“By parking on busy streets there is more of a chance that someone trying to steal a car will be caught,” he said.

u An unknown person stole $8,400 in computer equipment from Moos Tower on Nov. 27 or 28.

The computer room – which is usually locked – was discovered open Nov. 27, but the equipment was not discovered missing until Friday.

Johnson said computer thefts are among the most common crimes on campus, but it is hard to monitor who goes in and out of buildings.

“The University has about the same square footage of downtown Minneapolis, and it is hard to control that space,” he said.

But he said students can help make sure more equipment is not stolen.

“If you come across a door that is unlocked at a time when it should be locked, lock it or report it,” he said.

u University police made three DWI arrests this week, three arrests for driving without a license and three arrests for theft from buildings.