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Residence halls experience burglary over Spring Break

Posted on 03.27.2013

University of Indianapolis students in Central and Roberts halls arrived back to campus from Spring Break to find a number of dorm thefts had occurred. According to Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli, 22 reports of missing items have been filed.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and UIndy Campus Police are currently investigating. According to Director of Campus Security and Chief of Police David Selby, they are making progress.  Selby urges students to call him if they see or hear of something related to the thefts.

“It may just be the piece I need to shore up some loose ends,” he said.

Junior nursing major Max Hendricks, who lives in Central Hall, said that he was one of the victims of the burglaries over Spring Break.

“I found out from my friends before I even got back to school that there had been robberies. So I was pretty anxious to get back to school,” Hendricks said. “When I got back to my room, my drawers were all messed up, and they’d [the thieves] gone through all my stuff.”

Hendricks said that he had a watch, a brand new video game controller that was still in the box, a video game and some polos taken—roughly $300 worth of property.

“My roommate had his cologne stolen, which is weird.  I don’t know why they took his cologne. My watch was in my drawer right next to two pairs of Oakleys, each over $100 a pair,  but they didn’t take those. It made no sense to me,” Hendricks said.

According to Vitangeli, the dorms do not have insurance for personal items and students are not required to have it in order to live in the dorms.

“During first year orientation, we always talk with students and parents about checking either the home-owners or rental insurance to make sure personal belongings are covered,” Vitangeli said. “Typically, as long as you’re under your parents’ purview, it would be covered under one of those as a family member.”

Besides checking to see what their insurance covers, Selby said that students could help prevent future thefts by keeping a few things in mind.

“It’s important for students to write down all their serial numbers of all their important equipment and keep a copy here and a copy at home with your parents,” Selby said.

Keeping records of this  information is beneficial in these types of  investigations and allows Campus Police to return the items to students.

“The next thing is [to] make sure your property is secure. Don’t leave real expensive items behind. Obviously, students aren’t going to load everything up. But if you paid $300 for an Xbox or $700 for a computer, don’t leave it here,” Selby said.

Hendricks said that he did take his Xbox and laptop home during Spring Break, but he could not take all of his valuables back with him. His parents’ home is nearly four and a half hours away,  so he had moved virtually everything he owns to UIndy.

According to Selby, to improve the students’ sense of security and prevent future break-ins, the university hired some outside security personnel to patrol the residence halls and the apartments. The extra patrols began March 15.

Vitangeli said that they also changed the locks on the doors of any student who reported having items taken, as well as the locks to the exterior doors of the residence halls.

Vitangeli also said that the university has plans to put in security cameras and card swipe entry systems in various campus buildings.

“We have a pilot being implemented this spring in Christel DeHaan and in the library to put card swipes and cameras on the front and back doors of those buildings,” Vitangeli said. “So we’d already started that pilot, and now,  hopefully,  we’ll move quicker on that for the residence halls.”

According to Vitangeli, these changes will be implemented sometime this spring.

Hendricks believes that UIndy should move to a different security system, his preference being card swipes. He said that he was obviously very upset by what happened, but he is impressed by the measures UIndy has taken to help students.

“The university is continuing to work with students and their families who have been affected by this, and we will continue to do so.  I’m more than happy to talk with anyone who has questions or concerns,” Vitangeli said.

Still, Hendricks said that the thefts are disconcerting and he feels sympathy for the people who had even more items stolen than he did.

“The dorm room is like your home. I call it home, because it’s where I am all the time,” Hendricks said. “Its just frustrating that a sense of security is broken and damaged or, like, hindered in a way.”


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