Burglaries on the rise at Mayo building

The Mayo Memorial Building has faced four separate break-ins since the end of July.

by Rilyn Eischens

In the past seven weeks, 10 burglaries and have occurred in University of Minnesota-owned buildings. Four of those crimes took place in the University’s Mayo Memorial Building alone.
University Police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the recent trend is uncommon, and though he blames a lack of security, other University officials attribute the uptick in crime to the building’s location.
The Mayo Building burglaries occurred between 5 p.m. and early morning, about 8 a.m. Items stolen from the building since July 31 include computers, gift cards and laptop batteries, Miner said. 
The most recent burglary occurred Sept. 9 when a suspect ripped a key box off the wall and pried it open with scissors, Miner said. They recovered keys that were stolen from the top of an employee’s desk, he said, though it’s unclear if additional keys remain missing.
UMPD sent out a campus-wide crime alert after the incident with an image of a person of interest. Miner said police have received tips since the alert was issued but haven’t made an arrest.
In a burglary on the weekend of July 31, a suspect gained access through a broken window on the sixth floor roof, Miner said. In other burglaries, suspects pried open office and exterior doors, he said.
Out of the four incidents, three burglaries resulted in stolen items, and one burglary constituted a break-in, although nothing was stolen.  Another showed no forced entry.
The string of nighttime burglaries in University-owned buildings is unusual, Miner said.
“We see more daytime thefts,” he said. “It’s more rare to have … after-hours thefts and burglaries.” 
He said the recent trend could be a result of the Mayo building’s old age.
“It does not have as much physical security in place as some of the more modern buildings do,” he said. “That makes it somewhat of an easier target.” 
But University Facilities Management spokeswoman Callie Chamberlain said the problem likely lies in the building’s location and high daily traffic rather than a lack of security. 
She said the building’s location near Stadium Village and proximity to light rail stations make it more vulnerable to crime.  
“It’s a different location than a lot of our other buildings are, which leaves it open to things like this happening a little bit more,” she said.
The building, she said, is equally as secure as other University-owned properties. 
“We have card readers; buildings are locked at night; custodial staff walk around and make sure things are okay,” she said.
Still, Chamberlain said that Facilities Management plans to increase the number of security officers patrolling the area to avoid future crimes, and facilities employees have been reminding workers in the building to lock doors and keep belongings safe.
A complete log of crime reported to the UMPD can be read here.