Thanksgiving break-in on University

Many students took the opportunity to relax, recharge and ready themselves for finals over Thanksgiving break.  For one student, time to reenergize was cut short upon hearing that her house was broken into over the holiday.

“Our landlord came to the house to fix a problem on [Nov. 25],” said the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, and lives in the 1100 block of University Ave. “He noticed a trash can was placed underneath my window [looking into the alleyway]. He moved it, and that’s when he noticed the damage.”

The physical damage of the break-in included a broken window on the first floor, which the resident said was caused by a brick.

“Now I have a board covering up the window in my bedroom,” she said.

The resident said the person or people who broke into her home went into every room of the house, looking through drawers and furniture. One locked bedroom door was kicked down.

A flat screen television, two cameras, two iPods, a stun gun, a bottle of champagne, jewelry, an external hard drive for a Mac laptop and the laptop itself were among the stolen possessions.

“I feel safe during the day, but not really at night,” the resident said. “I drive to the library, but I still get nervous walking from night classes even though they’re in Baker Hall. There’s a bus stop right outside of our house, so it’s kind of nerve-wracking to see people standing outside.”

The vacant house watch program, which is run by the Bradley University Police Department (BUPD), was offered to off-campus students, faculty and staff members for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Interested students signed up their house or apartment with the BUPD, and officers checked the listed homes on their patrols during the break.

“We knew about the house watch program, but we didn’t get around to signing up for it,” the resident said. “We’re definitely going to in the future.”

Bradley University Chief of Police Brian Joschko said a total 16 houses and apartments belonging to 58 students, staff and faculty members were listed on the vacant house watch program for Thanksgiving Break.

“It was an okay number [of houses signed up],” he said. “We hoped that more people would have taken advantage of the program.”

Joschko said he was aware of the break-in, but because the landlord contacted the Peoria Police Department, the BUPD did not handle the burglary.

“After Thanksgiving, we did check with the city of Peoria and the only report [of a burglary] was the one on University,” he said. “There were no incidents with the 16 houses on our watch list.”

The vacant house watch program will be available during winter break, Joschko said. He said he anticipates more students to sign up their houses or apartments during the break because it is for a much longer period of time.

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