Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Washburn’s parking lots have become targets for car break ins and theft

The+Washburn+University+Police+Department+warns+the+Washburn+community+to+make+smart+choices+when+protecting+their+cars.+On+Sunday%2C+Jan.+21%2C+2024%2C+two+cars+were+targeted%2C+one+a+break-in+and+the+other+stolen.+
Photo illustration by Aja Carter
The Washburn University Police Department warns the Washburn community to make smart choices when protecting their cars. On Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, two cars were targeted, one a break-in and the other stolen.

Recently, the Washburn University parking lots have been targeted for car theft. Last Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, Washburn University Police Department reported 8 incidents of students vehicles being broken into and two cars being stolen.

These incidents happening on the same day were a peculiar case for WUPO. They don’t believe the two incidents are related but haven’t ruled that idea out completely.

“It’s very strange that we would have two things like that happen on the same day on campus so that kind of makes you wonder. But, right now we don’t have anything to make us go ‘Yeah probably related,’” said Chris Enos, chief of WUPO.

Enos explained that the methods of operation for both incidents were different with one car’s window being smashed and the other being stolen.

Jolie Evans, freshman kinesiology major and owner of a Hyundai Elantra, which was broken into, was shocked that her car was targeted. She’d heard talk on campus of some cars being broken into but didn’t consider her own as an option.

“My first thought was, not that anyone would have messed with my car because I mean, I didn’t think it was anything special. There’s a million cars in the parking lot. Why would they choose mine?,” Evans said.

Evans found her car later Sunday afternoon, with the driver-side back window smashed. She contacted WUPO who began working to find the perpetrator. They are looking into both incidents using parking lot security cameras.

After reviewing the footage outside of the Village, police saw a white male wearing light jeans and a dark stocking cap carrying a backpack while walking in the area. He has not been identified yet and it is uncertain if he had any part in the incident.

Evans feels as though this incident has been a major inconvenience especially with it being her first week at Washburn. She also expressed that though she didn’t necessarily feel unsafe on campus with WUPO patrol and people around at night, the thought of car theft made her nervous.

“The fact that so many cars in this one area of the parking lot were broken into and even one was stolen, it’s kind of scary to think about how quickly things can happen right under the noses of the people who are supposed to be keeping the campus safe,” Evans said.

Chris Enos, chief of the Washburn University Police Department, shares one of the many views campus police have of the Washburn parking lots. He explained that these cameras are viewed by several police officers on shift day and night to ensure campus safety. (Photo by Aja Carter)

The police department has decided to patrol the campus parking lots more frequently and keep a close eye on the security camera footage. They are also working with Topeka Police to gain access to the city security camera footage and trade reports regarding this issue.

Since the two incidents occurred near a residential area on campus, Molly Pierson, director of residential living, has teamed up with Enos to notify students living on campus of preventions.

It is recommended that students lock their car doors and remove valuables. Students should also refrain from leaving their keys in the car unattended.

Evans would like the perpetrators in these incidents to consider the effects of their actions.

“Think about the people who own the vehicles and the kind of reputation that you’re putting on Topeka and on campus. Like, word gets around and it can be scary to people and it’s just a huge inconvenience to put onto people who already have a lot going on,” Evans said.

WUPO states that Hyundai and Kia cars have been targeted specifically. They encourage the Washburn community to report any suspicious activity and to follow the prevention given.

To learn more about the security cameras, the community is encouraged to contact the department here.

Edited by Jayme Thompson and LeSha’ Davis

*Information updated Jan. 29, 2024 for clarification on these incidents.

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About the Contributor
Aja Carter, Editor-in-Chief Washburn Review
Hello, my name is Aja! I am a senior mass media major with a concentration in journalism and the Editor-in-Chief of the Washburn Review. I'm originally from Virginia, but I've lived in a couple of other states. I really enjoy writing, music, and spending time with my family. Outside of school and reporting for Student Media, I volunteer at my church, Light of the World Christian Center.
 
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Comments (2)

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  • A

    AmberJan 27, 2024 at 1:44 pm

    Facts are a little messed up! Might want to check with your sources again!

    Reply
    • A

      Aja CarterJan 29, 2024 at 12:51 pm The Washburn Review Pick

      Hi Amber, thank you for your comment! The facts within the story have been reviewed and further clarified to be sure there is no confusion on these incidents.

      Reply