Shattered glass. That’s all that remained in the parking space that Jeff Kline, Royal Oak senior, backed his tan 2002 Dodge Neon into at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 19. Less than 24 hours after locking his car doors, the tan Neon was stolen from the Mitchell parking lot. A vehicle has not been stolen and taken off campus since 2003 prior to this instance.
“It was just very shocking,” Kline said. “My car was just a reliable old beater – it did what it was supposed to and that was the important part.”
According to Ken Snyder, director of campus safety, another vehicle in the lot was broken into in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it on the same day that Kline’s Neon was discovered missing. Campus safety believes the same individual was responsible.
Kline filed a police report with Albion District Public Saftey (ADPS) on Oct. 19. ADPS estimated the vehicle was stolen between 11:30 a.m and 2:00 p.m. but were not certain, according to Kline.
Since the theft, Kline has not heard back from ADPS with any updates on the car’s whereabouts; however, ADPS does have a suspect in the incident, but has not located him or the vehicle, according to Snyder.
“At this point I feel there’s really nothing you can do besides look for it [the car],” Kline said. “It will most likely get chopped for parts and just wind up as a frame sitting on the side of the road at some point.”
In the wake of last week’s automobile-targeted crime, Campus Saftey is working to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
“Both ADPS and Campus Safety have increased their patrols of the parking lots,” Snyder said. “We have had no other similar incidents and no reported incidents of items being taken from motor vehicles thus far this semester.”
Kline is unsure whether or not he will purchase another car and bring it to Albion.
“The instances of me not having to go anywhere are more often than me having to go anywhere,” Kline said. “I’m just going to be getting rides from friends for the forseeable future.”
According to Snyder, in cases like Kline’s, the person who stole the vehicle apparently had some knowledge as to how to successfully do so. There is not much a student can do to prevent being targeted for theft, and the best thing students can do is be vigilant and report suspicious activity when they see it.
“If it’s an isolated incident, then it’s not a big deal,” said Korey Roberts, Hartline senior.