Six cars were broken into across three campus lots Saturday evening, said Assistant Chief Gloria Graham of the Duke University Police Department.
The incidents—three vehicle break-ins at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club parking lot, two in Parking Garage II and one in the lot near the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center—were reported between 5:11 p.m. and 7:13 p.m., according to a DUPD e-mail.
One car in the Washington Duke lot and the car in the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center lot had broken windows but no missing property. Property had been removed from the other four vehicles.
Graham said DUPD believes the six break-ins are related. She said Duke Police also has surveillance video of one of the break-ins, which has led them to believe these incidents are related to a prior series of break-ins also caught on tape.
“We put out a crime alert on this same group of people,” Graham said. “It took them less than two minutes to break into a car.”
The suspects in the previous incidents were two females and one older male. Graham said the same officer responded to both cases, looked at the video from the most recent incident, and said he believes the perpetrators are the same people.
This case has a high probability of being solved, Graham said, and she expects investigators to send out a suspect description this afternoon. She said she hopes the video will also reveal the suspects’ license plate number.
People should store their valuables out of sight when they park to make their vehicles less of a target for thieves, Duke Police advise.
Last month, Graham said DUPD wrote about 660 Gotcha-tickets—warnings that alert people who have left valuables open or unattended. About 70 percent of the tickets went to vehicles with visible valuables, she estimated.
“People who are in the business of breaking into cars, they look for target-rich environments,” Graham said. “Unfortunately, Duke is a target-rich environment because there are a lot of cars and the likelihood of finding three or four with [Global Positioning System] units or some other valuables is high.”
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