University Police combat car break-ins

FRESNO, Calif.

UPD said the thieves are wandering campus, looking for any smash and grab opportunity in student parking lots. But officers are being just as observant in stopping the crimes before they happen.

Corporal Andrew Hill patrols Fresno State's campus and the neighborhoods that surround it.

"You're always looking for who doesn't belong in this area, or something that stands out about someone," said Cpl. Hill.

That's how police busted several suspected car burglars this week. Sgt. Ruben Madrigal told Action News in one case a man was found walking through campus parking lots with a bag full of what he calls burglar tools, items used to smash car windows.

"Traditional students don't carry those types of things when they come to campus," Sgt. Madrigal said.

Police said the number of car burglaries this semester is about the same as it was last fall. But the statistics could be higher since many students fail to report break-ins.

"I get really scared actually, I don't want someone to break into my car and steal my wallet or anything," said Fresno State sophomore April Ganzon.

Ganzon isn't along. More than a thousand students belong to the Facebook group Revitalize the Fresno State Community.

One student recently posted a picture of a car he claims was broken into on Shaw Ave. That post sparked several comments from students. "These are just crimes of opportunity, that's all they're looking for," Madrigal said. "They smash into a car, it takes seconds."

But it could take just seconds to prevent it, as long as students stop leaving valuables in plain sight.

Police said these crimes are not usually committed by students. They also said it's important to report any type of break-in or burglary so it can be recorded and possibly help prosecute anyone arrested on campus.

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