While most of Wittenberg students were recovering from Black Friday, a university owned home was broken into and robbed of $10,000 worth of goods. According to the police log, all five residents of 954 Woodlawn Avenue were away on break when the suspect broke into a window in their kitchen and took everything from laptops and iPads to a collection of expensive basketball shoes and a suitcase to take them away in. Both Wittenberg and Springfield City police have been assigned to the investigation.
This burglary is one in a line of increasingly bigger and bolder crimes through this semester. In August and September, students were made aware of thefts of TVs and gaming systems through side windows that were left unlocked. In November, it escalated to bold, front-facing window entries to taking everything in the house, including clothing and shoes. This has left many students afraid to leave anything in their homes, and questioning the effectiveness of police presence in the areas surrounding campus that are mostly university-owned.
While Lieutenant Mark Lopez with the Wittenberg Police could not comment on the specifics of the on-going investigation, he seemed hopeful after finding several pieces of evidence leading towards suspects. “We do have several leads our department is aggressively pursuing,” said Lopez. “I would like to encourage anyone with any information about these incidents to forward it to the Wittenberg Police Department.”
As always, the Police encourage students to take valuables with them when they leave and to record the serial numbers on their electronics. Lopez said that police will patrol 24/7 during winter break, with an increase in foot patrol in the area around campus. He also said that residence halls have their locks recorded so that no one may enter the building without the knowledge of staff.
There is a program that many students may not know about. Lopez wants students to know about vacation checks, which are available over breaks, and any time students leave for an extended period of time. Vacation checks can be set up through the campus security office, and allow officers to check certain properties more for activity when residents are away.
Another question many students are asking is if the university covers the increasing thefts. “The university insures our buildings, but we do not insure students’ property against loss, theft, and damage,” said Mark DeVilbiss, Associate Dean of Residence Life. DeVilbiss encourages all students to secure their own renter’s insurance, which can be found privately through most insurance firms, or through the university and Sallie Mae Insurance Services. This insurance covers liability and loss of property, which would occur in cases like theft, fire, or other damages due to weather or other disasters.
Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to contact Wittenberg Police and Security at 937-327-6231 with any questions or concerns.