Car theft pattern seen at Hawthorn

Kati Jividen

The Department of Public Safety has increased patrols at the Hawthorn Court apartment complex after several students reported their vehicles had been broken into. Director of Public Safety Loras Jaeger said at least five students have had their vehicles burglarized since moving in Aug. 11. At least one car was locked. “It’s indicative of school being started and a large influx of both students and vehicles at Iowa State,” he said. “We encourage incoming students, especially freshmen who are not familiar with this environment, to lock their cars and put valuable items in the trunk.” Jaeger said the perpetrator is taking anything valuable from the car, including compact discs and players, radar detectors, amplifiers and cameras. Jay Kemper, junior in aerospace engineering, had about 20 CDs and two CD wallets taken from his unlocked car Aug. 15. Several CDs in jewel cases were left behind. “I think what they were doing was checking cars for unlocked stuff and taking whatever they could grab,” said Kemper, who lives at 1214 Hawthorn. “I think it might have been a one-time deal, but I’m going to lock my doors.” Kemper said he normally locks his doors but simply forgot this time. “It’s probably some guys walking around, who decided `Hey, let’s see what we can get out of these cars,'” he said. “It was . take what you can get fast.” John Burns, senior in electrical engineering, also had his car broken into last week. He said he doesn’t remember if it was locked. “They stole my CD player and my radar detector,” said Burns, who lives at 1211 Hawthorn. “They didn’t take my checkbook, which was in the glove box. They looked through it, but didn’t take it.” Burns said he doesn’t know if the perpetrator is targeting Hawthorn, but he’s going to make sure his car doors are locked. “A couple of my friends on the same floor had their cars broken into,” he said. “I think they [the thieves] went along the parking lot and checked all of the cars.” Kevin Youngman, 1215 Hawthorn; Amon Beckler, 4226 Hawthorn; and Nicole Ludwig, 1325 Hawthorn, also had their cars broken into last week. Youngman and Beckler’s loss, which included a Craig brand amplifier, a box of cigars and a center console, totaled about $315. Jaeger said the beginning of the school year is a prime time for car thefts because of the warm weather. “We have a lot of people here,” he said. “This is a small city, and with that you have those problems.” “We’ve found over the years that these parking lots are popular with people from other communities who want to do thefts from cars,” he said. “We have well over 100 parking lots.”