UCCS’ Police Department said in an email statement sent to the entire university on Sept. 5 that three bike thefts and five reports of trespassing into motor vehicles and stealing personal items have been reported on the UCCS campus since the start of August.
UCCS’ chief of police Dewayne McCarver wants the campus community to know that these crimes pose ongoing and significant threats. They threaten theft and damage to the personal property of students and faculty.
Trespassing and stealing personal items
The email included five individual reports of trespassing inside motor vehicles and the subsequent theft of personal belongings.
According to the police, the thefts occurred between Sept. 1 and Sept. 3, each happening in the Alpine Parking Garage. The suspect or suspects gained access to the vehicles due to unlocked doors or the vehicle’s windows being left down, which resulted in items being in plain sight or items in glove boxes being grabbed quickly.
“The people that are breaking into these vehicles — or should I say trespassing into these vehicles — don’t want to break windows … They don’t want to do anything like that because the car alarm could go off or just the noise of breaking into that vehicle can cause attention,” McCarver said.
McCarver said that these thefts were crimes of opportunity, and he recommends parking in a well-lit area if it is accessible, placing valuables out of sight and ensuring car doors and windows are locked to prevent thievery.
The UCCS Police Department also said in their email that they are investigating three individual reports of bicycles stolen from campus that occurred between Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
Each of these bicycle thefts occurred in Summit Village and were secured with cable locks, which the suspects subsequently cut through.
McCarver stresses the importance of investing in a U-lock rather than a cable lock to any student or faculty member who brings their bicycles to campus.
“Somebody can cut a chain in literally one second, but it takes a lot of work to get U-locks off — they can still do it … It just takes a lot more time, a lot more effort, the right kinds of tools and those tools are harder to carry around,” McCarver said.
According to McCarver, the suspects are members of an organized crime group that is not affiliated with the UCCS campus.
“They were going around from all over campuses around the country, and they were stealing from one campus and then they would sell them at the next. One of our bikes turned up in California at UCLA and then one turned up at MIT on the East Coast,” McCarver said.
Students are required to register any bike brought onto campus with Parking and Transportation Services, and the Kraemer Family Library has U-locks at the main circulation desk that students can rent when they present a valid student ID.
These incidents have ceased due to the suspect or suspects losing their window of opportunity to continue, and they are likely aware that the UCCS Police Department is on high alert and investigating these reports intently.
To report any incidents of theft, students can call the UCCS Police dispatch at 719-255-3111 or download the new UCCS SAFE app. The safety app also provides updates on any future reports of theft and other safety alerts.
Bike racks located in central campus. Photo by Meghan Germain.