Students fall victim to home and car break-ins over fall term and winter break

Throughout fall term extending into winter, several student homes and cars were broken into.
According to Chief Thomas Phillis of the Augustana College Police Department, there has been an increase in this kind of activity on Augustana College’s campus “based on annual statistics,” though these events are not common occurrences.
Chief Phillis also said that items that are typically stolen are electronics or those which can be resold, specifically at pawn shops.
Senior Courtney Olson, a Biology/Pre-Nursing major, was among those whose homes had been burglarized. Olson’s home had been broken into, or attempted to be broken into, multiple times. The first time was during fall term, and a second attempt was made during winter break.
“It was actually a scary situation to where we had to call the police,” Olson said about the break-in fall term. “I work nights and I got a text from one of my roommates saying, ‘Hey, are you home? Are you making all this ruckus?’ and I said ‘No.’ So I came home, parked in the back, and was getting ready to walk into my house, and the side door was completely wide open. I was just kinda like, ‘That’s a little strange for 4:30 in the morning.’”
Olson then entered the house through the front door where she was met by her roommate. “We didn’t know if people were still in our house so we called the police. They looked over the premises, and my roommate’s TV had been stolen and our living room was in shambles.”
The items from Olson’s home have not yet been recovered, and the home next door to her had also been burglarized that night. Over winter break, someone again tried to break into the home, using a crowbar and breaking the frame of the door.
Senior Kyra Lane, a Psychology/Pre-Physical Therapy major, had her home broken into right before Christmas. “I was at home and I had heard that a lot of pipes around campus had been freezing because it was so cold out, and my dad told me to contact my landlord to make sure everything was okay. So I contacted my landlord and they couldn’t find a key to get into the house, so I ended up going there by myself. I got there, and the pipes were fine–it was warm in the house–and the first thing I noticed was that the TV wasn’t there. As I was looking around, I noticed that they left every single closet in the house and our back door wide open. Every door in the house except for the front door was wide open. A window in my living room was smashed in.”
Officer Jason Foy, the public information officer of the Rock Island Police Department, calls burglaries like these “crimes of opportunity” and advises students to let someone know if they will be leaving their homes for an extended time: “Talk to friends who are remaining on campus, and don’t leave [your home] full of opportunity. Make sure all the windows are always locked and have light timers so it appears that someone is home. If it snows, have someone shovel the sidewalks–clear the path so it appears that someone is coming and going.” He also advises students not to leave anything in their vehicles. Instead, he said to put everything in the trunk, and lock the vehicle.
Chief Phillis also had advice for students: “Lock your doors, close the blinds, take home valuable items that are easy to move, record make, model, serial number, and purchase price of all electronic purchases, and make sure items are listed under either renters insurance or homeowners insurance.”