What may seem like shelter and protection in the daytime can become the very beacon of crime at night. The on-campus parking garage was this beacon of crime on , where four cars were broken into on the night of Nov.9.
Luis Wichers, a lieutenant FAMU police officer working the case said the break-ins occurred “some time after 9 p.m. that Friday night.” Wichers also pointed out that it is hard to tell if a pro or amateur broke into the cars.
To Miguel Davis, 20, a junior computer information systems student from Mobile, Ala., it doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator is a professional.
He remembered that Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m. when he discovered that his car was broken into.
“I was going to wash it. And I saw all this glass on the ground. I was asking myself how it got there,” David said.
That glass came from the two left side windows that had been smashed on Davis’s car.
“When I saw that my car had been broken into I felt…enraged.”
As if the emotional distress of car burglary wasn’t enough, students now have to worry about the cost of damages of their cars, which averages up to $1,000 for each student’s car that was broken into.
Along with damage to Davis’s windows, two twelve-inch sub woofers, an amp, a speaker box, a CD player, over 50 CDs and some textbooks were stolen from his car.
T.J. Ottun, 21, a junior chemistry student from Long Beach, Calif., faced the same hefty price. When he went to the parking garage to find his driver’s side window gone and his CD changer and amp stolen.
The same goes for Titamus Howard, 19, a freshman criminal justice student from St. Petersburg, when he found his car on Saturday morning.
“My passenger windows, my CD Player, my amplifier and speakers were stolen, the cost of damages come up to $1,200,” Howard said.
Calvin Ross, FAMU police chief, points out that car break-ins are not unusual on campus. “We’ve had vehicles broken into from time to time,” Ross said. Ross said that last semester a number of Honda Accords were burglarized.
Ross ensured students that university police in conjunction with other law enforcement departments are doing their best to ensure that car burglary in the parking garage and anywhere else on campus never happens again.
“We have dispatched various officers and they are zeroing in at the times and the various locations around the campus.”
According to Florida Statutes, the crime that occurred on Nov. 9, is technically called “burglary to conveyance”, which comes under the burglary statute. Persons charged with first felony to burglary to conveyance, which involves a person getting hurt in the process of the crime, can face up to 30 years in federal prison not exceeding life imprisonment. Second degree charge of burglary to conveyance is up to 15 years in prison, while a third degree offense can equal up to no more than five years in state prison.
If the criminal offender is a student, he or she will face criminal punishment along with further penalties issued by the administration.
Henry Kirby, dean of Student Affairs, said that punishment for students charged with this offense face a number of administrative penalties.
“Punishment ranges from suspension to a lesser penalty. Suspension imposes removal from the university for a definite period of time. Students will also face numerous fines and probation until their matriculation is completed at the university,” Kirby said.
Victims of the car break-ins agree in the preventive measure that should be taken to stop car break-ins.
“They [the police] should have lights in the garage, more police cars patrolling the area ad cameras in the parking garage so they can better monitor cars,” Davis said.
Kirby said that police patrol will be beefed up in “particular areas.”
Any person with a tip on what took place on the night of Nov. 9 in the parking garage call 1 (800) 501-5352. If an arrest should occur person giving information could be awarded up to $500.