No one ever thinks they will fall victim to a break-in until it happens to them. Last May, my vehicle was broken into in the freshmen parking lot and my personal laptop was stolen.
I want to make it very clear that, aside from the jerk who broke into my car, the only other person to blame is myself. Last year, after multiple break-ins occurred on campus, Rocky Mountain College’s Campus Safety Coordinator, Amberly Tanzosh, sent out several warnings advising students against packing their vehicles the night before they planned on leaving. I read the email,but packed my car the night before I left anyway. Since I was leaving days after most students, I assumed I would be fine. I was wrong.
The next morning, I woke up to a senior staff member calling me. I was informed that my vehicle had been broken into and I needed to come assess the damage as well as look for any missing items. As soon as I reached my car, I could see that shattered glass was everywhere. My laptop bag was gone. Of course, this was really frustrating in and of itself, but the worst was still to come.
Tanzosh was incredibly helpful in aiding the three students as they completed paperwork and contacted the Billings Police Department. After my claim with BPD was filed, I taped up my car window with a garbage bag and drove 310 miles home. It was unpleasant to say the least.
The majority of my summer was spent calling BPD to find out if anything had happened with my case. We had the guy and the get away vehicle’s license plate on camera; how hard could it be? Apparently, it was very hard. A few weeks went by and I heard nothing. Then I saw a Facebook article about a Billings officer who resigned because of a scandal. He was, of course, the officer on my case.
Once this information was discovered, I called and left numerous messages asking for the BPD to call me back. Finally, after calling dispatch, I was informed my case now had been passed to a new officer.There were no updates because the BPD was still trying to find enough evidence to press charges. As if a video of the perpetrator stealing my $600 laptop and breaking my car window was not enough.
I gave BPD the serial number to my laptop and was told they would run it through the pawn system, but not to hold my breath. I stopped holding my breath the minute I put that last piece of duct tape on my empty window frame.
Rocky students, please let this serve as a warning. Do not leave your items in your car overnight. Even if you think they are hidden, there is always the chance that a robber, whose intent is stealing valuables, will still find them. It is not worth the hassle of filing the claims, fixing your window, and still finding glass in your car months afterwards.
My laptop has not been recovered and it most likely never will be. I could not do my photo editing because of this and I had to drop the money to buy a new laptop so I could continue. While it is disappointing that there are people out there who have nothing better to do than break into college kids’ cars and steal their stuff, we can prevent it. If you see something, say something. Call the campus security office at 406.238.7293 or call 911.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. If you need help carrying in stuff from your car after a trip or even just going to the store, ask your roommate, a friend, or even a Residence Life Staff Member. Being tired, or not wanting to make more than one trip is not worth the possibility of having something stolen from your vehicle.