Break ins mark costly return for some students

By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer, Video by Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter

Several students returned from winter break in early January to discover they had belongings missing. As a result, they are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their valuables going forward.

Dallas senior Trevor Freeman and his roommates returned to Waco to find that their house had been broken into through a vent located in the back. The vent of the house leads up to their attic.

Freeman said he believes the suspect then entered the living area through a hole above the refrigerator that was found upon their return. He said that there was insulation from the attic all over the floor.

“The house was trashed,” Freeman said. “All of the drawers were opened and there was junk everywhere.”

He said that while some of their valuables had been stolen, other items of value had been left behind.

“They left behind three TVs, some other game consoles and pillowcases full of random items,” Freeman said.

Freeman said he and his roommates are now keeping a closer eye on their valuables, and are making a greater effort to keep their doors locked at all times.

Another break-in was reported by Grapevine senior Joseph Goff who said he cut his break short after receiving word that one of his roommates’ cars had its’ wheels stolen. Upon his return to Waco, he discovered the back door of his house was cracked open with the doorframe destroyed.

After surveying their house, Goff and his roommates gave the Waco police an inventory of their missing items. They had two TVs stolen, along with four gaming systems, various pairs of shoes, car keys and money.

Grosse Point Park, Mich. senior CJ Lemanski, one of Goff’s roommates, even had his personalized Bible stolen.

“It is a pretty defiling feeling,” Lemanski said. “I felt gross walking into our own home, knowing other people had been there.”

After this experience, Goff, Lemanski and their roommates have changed their locks and installed a “Ring” camera.

Ring is a company specializing in doorbell cameras and monitoring equipment. The company’s website displays its mission: “To reduce crime in neighborhoods.”

Ring has also launched an app called “Neighbors” which allows Ring Doorbell users to upload their footage for other users close by to view.

Goff said that he and his roommates are now alerted when someone is at their door or enters the house. Their doorbell also has a setting with bright lights and a siren that can be used to scare off intruders.

Keller junior Chloe Stuart has also recently installed a Ring Doorbell camera at her house to help prevent mail theft.

“We’ve had many packages go missing, even when we are extremely prompt about watching when packages are delivered,” Stuart said. “Our house in total has probably had well over $500 dollars of merchandise, as well as important documents taken in the past few months and over break.”

Although these cameras are useful for documenting, and in some cases, preventing burglary, students have the responsibility of reporting their findings to the local authorities.

Students who want to report any criminal activity can contact Baylor Police Department at (254) 710-2222 or Waco Police Department by dialing 9-1-1.