This post was written by Collegian opinions and photo editor Henri Gendreau ’16. This story will continued to be updated on The Thrill and in next week’s Collegian.
A rash of car break-ins hit the Gambier area between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning of this week, resulting in at least one stolen vehicle, vandalism and other stolen goods.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) issued a special alert for the Gambier area via its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, advising citizens not to leave valuables in their vehicles, and to keep their cars locked.
But that was not enough to prevent Graduate School and Preprofessional Advisor Maureen Tobin’s car from being broken into.
“We found our window smashed and they had stolen a bag of my daughter’s things, basically her cross country gear,” Tobin said, who lives on Kokosing Drive.
Two doors down from her, Assistant Athletic Director Amy Williams also had her car broken into.
Williams said the backseat driver’s window was smashed out, but that nothing appeared to have been taken.
It is believed that at least two vehicles were broken into — Williams’s and Tobin’s — and the KCSO said a gray 2009 Toyota Matrix had been stolen. Just outside the Village on Kenyon Road, Beth Hillier, an administrative assistant in the Health and Counseling Center, said her husband’s backpack blower had been stolen from her garage. She also said a neighbor family’s wallet and purse had been taken out of their car, but had been dropped by the road.
“I have lived here all my life and we have never had to lock anything, but the world is changing and it’s time to realize these things can happen anywhere,” Hillier said in an email.
The records division of the Sheriff’s Office is currently compiling reports related to the string of thefts.
Campus Safety is expected to issue a report to the community about the recent string of thefts, which some say resemble similar incidences that occurred last May in the Village.
Professor of American Studies Peter Rutkoff had his car stolen from his garage off East Woodside Drive. It was recovered 48 hours later in a park in Howard, he said.
“I haven’t locked my door in 40 years. Now, I’m locking my door,” Rutkoff said.
“I think what we really need to do as a community is start registering these things and seeing what the overall pattern is,” he added. “I’ll bet you there’s a sort of profile of these kinds of break-ins.”
Professor of Religious Studies Royal Rhodes, who lives on West Woodside Drive, said his car had been rummaged through last May, but nothing of value had been stolen.
“Lesson for us all that even in the Gambier ‘bubble’ bad things happen,” he wrote in an email.