MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Police has received four reports, since July 17, of thefts from vehicles.
University Police Chief Philip Scott said in most cases, the vehicles were left unlocked and parked in the following lots on the Morgantown campus: Lots 30 (Near College Park), North High St. (Near Boreman) and Coliseum Lot. Similar incidents have been reported throughout Monongalia County.
“I’ll just say we’ve had several and there are some that were just vehicles that were randomly rifled through and people couldn’t really put a finger on anything being stolen,” Scott said. “But we’ve had four or five that there have been actual thefts and all but one were cars that were open and unlocked.”
In the one case when the car was not locked, Scott said, the perpetrator or perpetrators broke the window of the car before stealing from it.
Scott said UPD is using many strategies to help mitigate the problem of theft from cars. The first was reaching out to the campus community with a notice.
“It gets the attention of the media, as well as our campus community to just let folks know that there are issues going on and to be vigilant and aware of the problem,” Scott said.
The second thing that UPD is doing, the chief said, is increasing patrols in areas where break-ins have occurred.
And then last but not least, he said, University Police are using the public to report suspicious activity of any kind.
“We, kind of, go by the saying if you see something say something,” Scott said. “We would much rather respond to a call of a suspicious event or suspicious person and it be nothing, then someone tell us tomorrow, I wish I would have called.”
If someone loitering around in a parking area or around a home or something, UPD wants to be called. Officers will check out any call or report right away, Scott said.
The simplest strategy to avoid someone breaking into your car, Scott reiterated, is to be vigilant and aware that bad actors are out there trying to get access to your property.
“If you have expensive items in your car, remove them or put them out of sight, lock them in the trunk and then first and foremost lock your vehicle,” Scott said. “Most of these cases are just crimes of opportunity with windows left down or doors unlocked and someone can, simply, just reach in and grab it and run. So, if you remove those items out of sight and lock your vehicle that that would probably stop a lot of these problems.”