By Rebecca A. Doyle
Department of Public Safety (DPS) Capt. James Smiley reports that DPS officers, working with the Michigan State Police Auto Theft Team and the Detroit Police Department, have recovered two more automobiles that were reported stolen from University parking facilities. Eight thefts of vehicles from University parking areas have been reported since October. All of the vehicles were late model sport/utility types and all but one were Jeeps.
The two recovered vehicles were found on Detroit's west side Dec. 11, where another one was found and reported in last month's Police Beat column. A third vehicle was damaged in a Dec. 9 theft attempt, when thieves were either interrupted or had too much trouble to continue, Smiley says. The thefts that occurred Dec. 9 during the day were discovered by car owners shortly after 5 p.m. DPS officers speculate that a Detroit-area group steals the vehicles and immediately drives them to a Detroit "chop shop" to be stripped.
Anyone who may have seen one or more suspicious people near similar vehicles in the Fletcher, Hill or Thayer parking structures on Dec. 9, and anyone who recalls any suspicious behavior in the Glen, Catherine or Thompson structures in October or November is asked to contact the DPS detective bureau, 764-8559, or the Witness Information Network, (800) 863-1355.
DPS officers are investigating two bomb threats at the Central Campus Recreation Building in the past few weeks. Both threats were made by a female voice, Smiley says, and both calls were made on Tuesdays, one Nov. 25 and the other Dec. 2.
The Study Break Video Rental store in the basement of the Michigan Union reported Nov. 24 that circuit boards had been removed during business hours from two of the video games in the store. Similar reports have been made to other law enforcement officials in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. There are no known suspects in any of the incidents.
DPS encourages University faculty, staff and students to be especially careful over the holiday and pre-holiday shopping days when using automated teller machines (ATMs). Thefts usually occur in badly lit areas and late at night, but the following tips can help protect both property and person any time.
Choose a well-lit ATM and have someone with you when using the machine at night.
Be ready. Have your card handy, but not in plain view.
Stand directly in front of the machine so that no one can see you enter your PIN.
If anything seems suspicious, cancel your transaction and come back later or use a different machine.
Pocket your cash immediately, count it later.
If you lose your ATM card, report it immediately to your financial institution.
Smiley also urges members of the University community who will be leaving offices and rooms for the holiday to be sure to close windows and lock doors, to keep valuable equipment or personal items locked up and to take home as many of their personal valuables as possible.