Between 10:30 p.m. on August 30 and 7:30 a.m. on August 31, four cars at Portland Hall and one car in Gorham were broken into. According to Penny Belanger, a USM Police detective, two of these cars were unlocked. The estimated damage in this case is small. A perpetrator smashed the window of one of the locked cars to gain entrance. The thieves allegedly stole loose change and CDs. The case is currently under investigation by USM police.

There are currently no suspects. Belanger said “the break-ins were isolated incidents. They look for anything that looks convenient, that they can break into easy.” There have been similar isolated incidents in the past, but students should have no reason to fear for their safety in the parking garages or the safety of their vehicles.

Portland Hall has one police officer who patrols the building and makes his way through the parking garage about once an hour. According to Belanger, the culprits must have stolen from these cars when the officer was in another part of the building. This crime would have been difficult for the officer to prevent, she said. Anyone who wanted to commit a crime in the parking garage could just wait until the officer was out of the garage. USM is not able to have officers patrolling the parking garages at all times due to cost.

There are some simple things students can do to prevent their cars from being burglarized. Belanger suggests that “students should lock their doors. Take anything out of plain view.” It is always a good idea to keep valuables out of your car.

If your car is burglarized the first thing to do is to call the police immediately. Do not open your car or touch anything inside of your car. The scene of the crime should not be disturbed. Police need to be able to assess the situation and look for evidence such as fingerprints.

According to Officer Rudy Soma, USM Police have discussed installing video cameras in the parking areas, she said, “If the funds were available, we would do it.”

Kristen Brack can be contacted at [email protected]

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