Spring break brings increase in thefts

Car thefts and a stolen phone contribute to this year’s crime spike.

Branden Largent

 

University of Minnesota alumna Breanna Kelly’s car was broken into over spring break. As a former Marcy-Holmes resident, she said it wasn’t unexpected

“I was thinking, you know, it was probably my time,” Kelly said. “It eventually happens to everyone.”

Car break-ins and thefts are on the rise in neighborhoods surrounding the University. At least five car break-ins occurred over spring break, along with at least six other thefts.

While there have been 20 more thefts in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood than at this time last year, there have been 14 fewer home burglaries, said crime prevention specialist Nick Juarez.

“In the past, I’d say there might be a spike in burglaries over spring break, but we haven’t seen that,” Juarez said.

Car break-ins are among the most common thefts in the 2nd Precinct, which includes the University, Juarez said.

Kelly, 26, first noticed her car had been broken into in the morning of March 17.

Her backseat window was shattered, but only a shopping bag full of St. Patrick’s Day hats was taken. The whole bag was worth about $10, she said, but it cost about $150 to replace the window.

“I was a little annoyed,” Kelly said. “Come on, if you’re going to break a window, at least look through my car or something.’”

Juarez said he’s been notifying neighborhood residents about the spike in thefts through email and word-of-mouth. He said to be aware of people lurking around cars, looking in windows and testing door handles.

“Hopefully people are still taking their stuff out of their cars,” he said.

Smartphone theft

University global studies junior Brenna Eschweiler noticed her smartphone had been stolen out of her pocket during a party over spring break.

“It’s pretty devastating,” Eschweiler said. “You have your life on your phone. … It’s just a very personal attack.”

After she called her phone several times, Eschweiler said someone answered. She said the person told her their daughter had found the phone, and they were willing to meet her and return it.

They decided on a place to meet, but she said the person never showed up.

“I pretty much doubted it from the start,” said Eschweiler, who thought she heard laughter in the background of the phone conversation. “It was pretty disappointing.”

She said she didn’t know the host of the party or many of the people there besides her friends. From now on, she said she’ll only go to parties where she trusts most of the people attending.

“Know who is at your party,” Juarez said. “If you feel uncomfortable, make sure you take the right steps to protect yourself and protect your property.”