Burglaries continue, Oakland locks up

TPN File photo.

An unknown person broke into a home on Ward Street Tuesday night, the most recent of at least six burglaries in Oakland this month.

This latest burglary took place on the 3300 block of Ward Street between 5:40 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, according to a crime alert from Pitt and city police. The residents of the home were gone at the time, but told police someone entered the house through a window.

When they returned home, residents found several items missing. They told police they did not see anyone in the house or in the area.

Police have no further information on a suspect in this robbery, or in the string of burglaries that began Oct. 9, when police responded to two robberies within an hour of each other on Semple Street and Meyran Avenue.

Less than a week after these two incidents, another burglary was reported on the 300 block of Semple Street on Oct. 14, at about 4 a.m. A home on the 3600 block of Bates Street was then burglarized the following day, Oct. 15, at about 2 a.m. A fifth burglary occurred on Oct. 19, on the 3700 block of Dawson Street between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Emily Schaffer, assistant public information officer for the city’s Department of Public Safety, said all of the burglaries are being investigated separately. This indicates that — despite proximity in time and location —police have no evidence that the break-ins were committed by the same people.
To prevent the series of burglaries from continuing, Schaffer said city police will continue to patrol Oakland during all shifts, but did not say police planned to increase their presence in the neighborhood. She encouraged Oakland residents and students to secure their homes.

“Be vigilant, lock all doors and windows [and] call police if you see anything suspicious,” Schaffer said in an email.

Pitt Police did not post a crime alert regarding a robbery early Thursday morning at senior Tom Harnett’s apartment at the intersection of Semple and Ward streets. Harnett said his apartment was unlocked — though the apartment building was locked, to the best of his knowledge — when someone entered while he and his roommate were sleeping.

During that incident, an unknown person took two PlayStation gaming consoles, two laptops, an external hard drive and Harnett’s wallet. Harnett said he’s most going to miss the years of backed-up work saved on his laptop.

“I’m just glad I didn’t wake up, so I didn’t do anything,” Harnett said. “If [the robbers are] that confident, I would be afraid.”

He added that he’s been more careful about locking the door, even when he is home.
“We’ve been locking the doors, like triple-checking and everything,” Harnett said. “We just know we’re not going to make that mistake again.”

Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch said concerned students should follow the advice included on each crime alert. That advice reads:

“Keep … your doors and windows locked, be aware of who you invite in your home, report suspicious persons and crimes promptly and always pay attention to your surroundings.”

Kelly McCabe, a junior urban studies and business major who lives on a block of Meyran Avenue that’s been recently burglarized, said she and her roommates have been following that advice lately.

“[My roommates and I] started dead bolting all our doors when we leave,” McCabe said. “If we leave for the weekend, we dead bolt our individual doors, and we also leave the lights on when we leave.”

Similarly, Colin Montesano, a junior biology major, who lives on the same block as McCabe, said he and his roommates are being more careful in light of the robberies.

“Since we’ve heard about them, we definitely have been locking our doors and keeping our windows shut,” Montesano said. “We’ve been trying to make sure we … be more vigilant about it.”

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