More than 20 car break-ins have been reported in East Lansing since January, many of them in student housing areas, according to East Lansing police records.
“Over the last month, we’ve experienced a little bit of an increase in larceny from automobiles,” said Lt. Chad Connelly from the East Lansing Police Department.
The majority of these cases have two common dominators, Lt. Connelly said. One of them is that almost all of the vehicles were left unsecured or unlocked, and the most stolen items are electronic devices like laptops, iPads and iPhones.
“At this time, we don’t know, there are a couple of potential people of interest, right now we don’t have firm suspects,” Connelly said.
Connelly also offered some advice for student car-owners.
“First and foremost, people need to lock their cars if they are leaving their car unattended,” Connelly said. “Next, don’t leave anything in value in plain sight in the vehicle. If you leave something sitting on the seat that looks like it would be in value to someone, that’s going to increase the odds of them wanting to try to steal it.”
Connelly suggests that car owners lock valuables in the trunk or outside of view, like in the glove box or center console.
Lt. Connelly said ELPD are still investigating these incidents and mentioned that car break-ins have slowed somewhat in recent two weeks.
Kaihao Long, an MSU student who lives in the Arbor Glen Apartments, was one of the victims. He didn’t lose any electronic devices from the larceny — he lost a pair of sneakers.
“I remember I locked the car,” Long said. “I don’t know how the suspect opened my car. there is no trace on my car, nothing is broken.”
Long discovered the break-in around 9 a.m when he was preparing to drive to class. He went downstairs and saw his passenger door was opened. At the same time, he saw police around the apartments and reported the incident.
“There are some similar incidents like that happened at our apartments, so the police were here to investigate,” Long said.
Long said since then he has stopped leaving anything in his car to avoid similar thefts.
An email from the Arbor Glen Apartments to residents indicates managers are working with police to put the property on a patrol schedule and creating a plan “to deter this type of crime.”