Students are advised to keep windows and doors locked after four houses near Western’s campus were the target of burglaries focusing on valuable Apple items, according to a press release from the Bellingham Police Department.
In the span of 25 minutes, a thief stole three MacBooks from a house of Western students on Friday, Sept. 30, senior Clayton Paull said.
Paull and his roommates were victims of the burglaries, with MacBooks, chargers and Paull’s backpack being stolen.
“We didn’t know the robbery occurred until the next morning,” Paull said. “That night, when we came back, we had no idea what had happened.”
Paull left his house at 10 p.m., and a half an hour later, his roommate Alexander Rolfs arrived home to find an open window in the kitchen.
Police determined the thief opened an unlocked window and climbed inside after finding a large handprint on the glass, Paull said. The handprint was swabbed for fingerprints, but residents of the house have not heard back from police.
“The paranoia will fade, but for now, I’m making sure I know where everything is.”
“We think it was some professional burglars, not just some hoodlums off the street,” Rolfs said. “They didn’t just get lucky, wander in and get through our house that quickly.”
This isn’t the first occasion something had been stolen from Rolfs and Paull’s house. Last year, Paull was sleeping on his living room couch with the front door unlocked, and someone walked in and stole a PlayStation 4 console. Other items stolen on separate occasions include a bike and a set of golf clubs. After the incident involving the stolen PlayStation 4, doors were locked but windows weren’t thought of. Reminders to lock all windows and doors are now common among the roommates.
Paull and Rolfs’ fellow roommate Kyle Jiganti didn’t lose anything, his laptop and backpack hidden under a table next to the burglars entry point.
“I definitely feel guilty, it’s kind of like survivor’s guilt, because everyone lost their computer and I still have mine,” Jiganti said.
Despite not losing anything of value, Jiganti has made sure to take extra precautions in preventing further incidents.
“The paranoia will fade, but for now, I’m making sure I know where everything is,” Jiganti said.
The Bellingham Police Department has issued a statement for preventative measures regarding burglaries: “Based on this spree of crimes it is likely that the suspect/s will continue to be active near the WWU campus area. It is important to make sure that the doors and windows of your home are properly locked. Be vigilant for suspicious behavior like a person that is lurking near homes for a long period of time. Call 911 to report suspicious activity.”
In addition, Bellingham police recommend taking these basic safety measures with your devices: Turn off Bluetooth in your system settings to avoid your device being discovered, and make sure your laptop is password protected.
Contact Bellingham police with any information on the burglaries at (360) 778-8611. If you are on campus and witness suspicious activity, call university police at (360) 650-3911.