Multiple car break-ins on campus
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The UNI Department of Public Safety Crime Log reported four burglaries from motor vehicles took place on Feb. 17. Two burglaries took place in the Dome North Lot, one in the Dome West B Lot and one in the Industrial Tech B Lot.
Gabe Combs, junior theater performance major, one of the Dome North Lot burglary victims, spoke to the Northern Iowan (NI) about his experience.
Night of robbery
“I was going with my friends to Olive Garden,” said Combs. “And I put [my backpack] in my car in the front seat […] And I remember not locking the door and [thinking] it’s totally fine, no one’s going to steal my things.”
Combs said he left his car in the parking lot from around 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. When he returned to his car, he realized quickly that it had been cleaned out.
“First, I called my friends to see if I had left my bags with them, and then I realized that I hadn’t, so then I called my mom,” said Combs. When Combs mother was unavailable, he decided to proceed on his own by calling the UNI police.
“They sent a lady to come in and get my report,” said Combs. He said the officer was kind and reminded him, “It’s not your fault that someone decided that they were going to take your things.”
Combs also said the officer told him that there had been other cars broken into and that two of them also resulted in windows getting smashed. As of press time, UNI police was unable to comment on the details or proceedings of the four open car burglary cases.
“I guess if they wanted my backpack they would’ve found a way to get it,” said Combs. “So, I’m trying to look at the bright side.”
Combs said he was told by UNI police that they would be closely watching pawnshops for any of his more expensive lost items like his computer hard drive. He was also recommended to watch out on Craigslist to see if any of his stolen items show up for sale there or on similar sites.
“She essentially told me that if I happen to find it, to call, but otherwise, they’ll ‘Do what they can,’” said Combs. Combs said he was told he would receive a call Monday, Feb. 20, but had yet to be contacted by UNI police, as of Friday, Feb. 24.
Combs totaled up the items he lost in the burglary to be approximately $1,062.
“I had finally been able to afford all of my textbooks, and so, I went and bought my textbooks and those were all taken from my car,” said Combs.
“I don’t anticipate getting my things back, which is a real bummer,” said Combs. “My sketchbooks and my really nice art markers were [all] in there too. And […] I know that it’s just art, but it felt like a diary of mine that had been taken because the art is personal to me.”
Along with Combs’ backpack, textbooks, sketchbooks and art supplies, he also lost his notebooks, computer, hard drive and Samsung charger. Combs said that his insurance would only be able to compensate him for $62 worth of lost goods.
Combs said one of his biggest mistakes was leaving his items visible in his car. He regrets leaving his backpack in the front seat, and wishes he would’ve put his things in his trunk.
“There wasn’t really much I could’ve done to prevent this, besides just having my things with me or in my bedroom,” said Combs.
“I feel really unsafe now,” said Combs. “I feel like that’s something that occurs for anyone who gets their things taken from them, but […] it definitely made me feel a lot more vulnerable and unsafe because it was just like one day I had my stuff and the next day it was just snatched from me.
“It just really sucks because I don’t feel safe leaving things in my car like I used to.”