By Matt Riedl, news editor
Up to five vehicles in the Fugate Hall parking lot were vandalized Saturday night, out of view of campus security cameras. The cars’ license plates were physically ripped off and stolen, leaving behind broken mounts and bumpers.
Surveillance cameras were down this past weekend for service, so none of the vandalism was caught on tape.
Two of the cases have been officially reported to Campus Security, but Director of Security Richard Oliverson said up to three more cars may have been vandalized in that lot.
Junior Rusty Carbaugh’s vehicle had its front bumper ripped off Saturday night. Carbaugh later found her bent license plate in the middle of the median on McCormick Avenue.
“I think that we need to have more security at night, security cameras on all the time or more lights in the parking lots, because I don’t feel safe at Newman at night anymore,” Carbaugh said. “I don’t want to have to worry about my car while I’m going to class, and I can’t afford any more repairs.”
Junior Alyssa Trevino also had her license plate, a personalized birthday gift, stolen off her vehicle.
“I saw it was in the grass all crumpled up,” Trevino said. “I was mad. I was up all night – I wish I would have just looked outside.”
A separate break-in was reported in the Beata/Merlini parking lot early Saturday morning.
Sometime between 10 p.m. Friday and 1:18 a.m. Saturday, a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck belonging to junior Pancho Fields was broken into. The thieves smashed out the passenger side window, damaged the driver’s seat and broke off a door handle, yet stole nothing of value from the vehicle.
“I didn’t know about it until the morning after,” Fields said. “I saw a note under my windshield wipers saying I had better call Security about my broken window, and lo and behold it had been broken. Nothing was stolen, except for maybe a few pennies.”
Oliverson said vehicle vandalism was not reported exclusively at Newman this weekend. Between 8 and 10:50 p.m. Monday, officials at Friends University reported three cars had been broken into and personal items had been stolen from those cars.
Within the past week, Newman has encountered its fair share of vehicle crimes, including a car theft last Wednesday in the New Hall parking lot.
The victim’s 2003 maroon Chevrolet Malibu was parked in the overflow lot at 4:42 p.m. Oct. 24. When she came back around 8:21 p.m. her car was gone.
She and Campus Security searched all of the parking lots and were unable to find her car.
After checking security cameras, Oliverson was unable to identify the perpetrator.
“We know that the car was driven out of the lot at 7:50 p.m., but we were unable to identify the person who was driving the car,” Oliverson said.
Due to the positioning of the camera and the lighting, the individual was unable to be described, Oliverson said.
A police report has been filed, though so far the car has not been located.
Just moments after this vehicle was stolen another car theft took place, as a red Dodge pickup truck was stolen from the same lot.
“There’s a possibility that the individual dropped off that car and came back to take the other,” Oliverson said. “It was such a coincidence that we think the thefts could be related.”
The suspect in that case is male, Oliverson said.
No updates on the incident have been reported.
Oliverson said he encourages people never to leave valuable items in plain sight in vehicles and to keep cars locked whenever they are unoccupied.