Six cars broken into, one stolen outside U College class
Six cars were broken into and a seventh was stolen outside a University College glassblowing class at Third Degree Glass Factory on Thursday night.
The students lock the studio door for the four hours in which they are working. When they exited last Thursday, they realized that many of the cars had broken windows and one student realized her car was no longer in the lot.
As the class is held off campus, students are required to provide their own transportation to class, and many choose to drive. Stolen items from the cars included backpacks, cash, iPads and other electronics.
The students called the St. Louis Metro Police Department and later the Washington University Police Department in the 50 minutes they were waiting for the St. Louis police to arrive. Both sets of policemen took down the students’ names and license plate numbers, and Metro police called for its evidence team to garner evidence from the students’ cars.
While waiting for the evidence team, senior Rachel Hoffman said, they realized there was a gray van that had been running the entire time they had been waiting for the police. While they first just assumed it belonged to someone in the class, they soon realized it belonged to whoever had broken into their cars. The van contained one of the missing backpacks along with random items like ID cards and credit cards.
By the time the evidence team arrived, the students pointed them to the van, which became a piece of primary evidence. At this point, students began to clean up their cars and were allowed, by WUPD, to park in the Millbrook garage.
While the glass factory lot is equipped with security cameras owned by the owner of the glassblowing factory, Hoffman said they were told all it would provide was a timeline of when the burglary took place and would not show any faces.
Hoffman, who attends the class with her twin sister, senior Arielle Hoffman, said that upon exiting the class and seeing her trunk open, she and her sister assumed they had accidentally left it open. They soon realized, however, that their front driver’s-side window had been broken. Ultimately, both the window and key port to the trunk were broken, and they were missing a coin purse and $75 in cash.
Hoffman said they were lucky they didn’t have more valuables in the car.
“We got off pretty lucky, honestly, with just the $75, but it’s definitely a lesson to never keep anything valuable in your car,” she said.
The window will cost $480 to repair, and she is unsure about how much the trunk will cost.
“Honestly, this could happen anywhere because it’s a public parking lot,” Hoffman said.
Students whose cars were victimized noted that parking in the lot is unavoidable to attend the class.
“I don’t really know if there’s anything that I could have done differently to prevent this from happening, and since we have to take our own cars to class there’s not really another option,” Hoffman said.
Senior Sojin Fadavi, who also had his driver’s-side window broken but had nothing stolen from his car, shared a similar sentiment.
“I don’t really have a choice but to park in that lot, since it’s the only parking in the area,” he said. “However, I think I’m going to carpool with friends from now on. I knew the area wasn’t the greatest, but I didn’t think this would happen. I think the fact that all of our cars were broken into together lessened the blow since we all just gathered up and worked through it. If it had happened to only me, I think I would’ve been pretty upset.”
St. Louis Metro Police did not respond to requests for comment over the weekend.