Apartments see burglaries during break


Jennie Kushner

Two Alabama students’ winter break ended with a break-in at their respective housing.

Seniors Brian Bloodworth and Stacey Mendel traveled back to Tuscaloosa energized for the New Year, but what they found wasn’t agreeable.

Mendel, an elementary education major, lives in Campus Way apartments on Helen Keller Boulevard. She said belongings at her apartment seemed ordinary until her roommate returned home.

“I didn’t even notice that we were robbed until my roommate came home and noticed that her Wii and TV were missing,” Mendel said.

“When I realized that we were robbed and that the person that stole our stuff had the master key, I got really freaked out,” she said. “I didn’t feel safe anymore knowing that simply locking all of our doors would not be enough to stay safe.”

Mendel said the police told her to change their locks and that this was not the first instance of such an event.

“The police officer that responded to us told us that our case was the fourth that he had seen in our complex over the past few weeks,” she said.

“The complex was not very cooperative with us,” Mendel said. “However, they did send out a locksmith to change our locks. The only problem is the person that did this has the master key and can still get in,” Mendel said.

Mendel said she and her roommate took matters into their own hands and changed the locks themselves.

Though she and her roommate both think there was nothing they could have done to prevent this type of break-in, Mendel advises changing locks.

“If someone has a master key, they can get in no matter what,” she said. “It may be an inconvenience for the apartment complex and they may not be happy, but changing your own locks is not illegal and it will prevent future break-ins like ours.”

Campus Way Apartments was contacted Wednesday morning and declined comment. They also questioned whether the break-ins had been proven.

Bloodworth, a senior majoring in political science, lives in a house his parents own in the Cedar Crest neighborhood located between University Boulevard and 15th Street.

Upon returning from break, Bloodworth’s roommate arrived to their house to find the front door kicked in and a TV and laptop stolen.

“It appears to have been a snatch and run,” Bloodworth said. “We can’t determine at what time or on what day the door was kicked in, but since no one was present for at least a month, it is interesting that only a couple of items were stolen.”

The three other roommates living with Bloodworth suffered no losses. Bloodworth said it seems as though no other spaces had been invaded.

The house, which did have an alarm system, has had an attempted robbery before.

“This happened before on Nov. 14, 2009, while Bama played Mississippi State in Starkville,” Bloodworth said.

“Luckily, during this intrusion, an old bed and box spring had been propped against the targeted door and prevented the would-be burglar from gaining entrance into the home,” he said.

This break-in prompted the installation of an alarm system, Bloodworth said.

“We believe that the alarm may have been either disarmed or that a power outage over break may have disarmed the alarm,” he said. “Either way, the alarm is functioning and why it failed to alert the authorities is still unknown.”

In the UAPD’s Safer Living Guide, the number one rule is to always lock up.

“University Police recommend that you not bring fine jewelry, heirlooms or expensive clothing to school,” the guide states. “During school breaks, take computers, stereos and other valuables home with you.”