There have been multiple car break-ins recently in the North end of Bridgeport. Many of the victims have been students of Sacred Heart University who live in off-campus homes.
Kelsey Fithen, a senior at SHU, is one of the victims. According to Fithen, her car was locked and parked in front of her home on the night of Thursday, Feb. 16 when the crime occurred.
She had parked her car outside her home around 10 p.m. and found it broken into around 10:30 a.m. the next morning. She had cash stolen from her, along with part of her fuse box ripped out and her belongings thrown around in the car.
“Personally, I feel extremely violated. The fact that I am supposed to come back to the house every night scares me,” said Fithen. “It makes me feel isolated from campus and vulnerable.”
Fithen isn’t the only student at SHU who was a victim of these car break-ins. Juniors Maggie Devlin and her roommate Catherine Phillips were also victims of this crime at their off-campus home.
According to Devlin, on Jan. 22, just a couple of days before her roommate’s car was broken into, she woke up to find the trunk of her car left open in their driveway. She thought this was strange considering she remembered locking her car, but nothing was stolen.
Two days later around noon on Tuesday, Jan. 24, Phillips noticed something was off while getting in her car to go to class.
“I had looked into the front window of my car and I noticed my glove box and my console had been ransacked,” said Phillips. “They had picked the lock to my car door and left it slightly open. Everything had been thrown on the floor, soda was spilled all over my seat, and 70 dollars had been stolen from me.”
According to Devlin and Phillips, one of their other roommates had recalled hearing shuffling and noise coming from outside their window around 1 a.m. that night. She assumed it was their neighbor at the time.
Devlin, Phillips, and Fithen all noticed that their cars were parked out of sight of their doorbell cameras. They all took the necessary steps in calling the police and reporting these incidents to SHU Public Safety as well.
“I would urge students to make sure that their car is in view of their Ring Doorbell camera and to not leave anything of value in their car,” said Fithen. “No matter where you are, in Bridgeport or even at home, don’t assume that it can’t happen to you.”
On Feb. 17, SHU Public Safety sent out a email reminding students, faculty, and staff of the necessary steps they should take to help avoid being a victim of these car break-ins.
“Lock your vehicle’s doors when unattended, close all your windows each time you leave your car, park in well-lit areas, clear your vehicle’s interior of any valuables, stow your electronics and accessories out of sight, install an audible alarm system, and report to Public Safety if you witness suspicious manner,” said the email sent by Public Safety. “Taking these steps may prevent you from being a crime victim.”