Several unlocked cars burglarized along College Avenue

An arial view of the Gramercy apartments parking lot. Five cars were reported having their registration and other belongings stolen. (Ben Voller | Collegian Media Group)

On the morning of Feb. 28, Rose Earle, resident of The Gramercy, said she found her car in disarray after burglars broke and stole valuable items.

“The thieves left the glove box open, and everything was moved around,” Earle said. “They stole my entire wallet and my car registration.” 

Aaron Wintermote, public information officer for the Riley County Police Department, said Earle was one of many victims of vehicle burglary that day. 

“We had a report on February 28 at about 10:30 in the morning,” Wintermote said. “A wallet was stolen with debit and credit cards; that was at The Gramercy. We also had one around 10 a.m. that morning. Phone charging cables, their vehicle registration and a battery jump-starter were stolen out of the car.”

Wintermote said there were also break-ins at Prime Place, another apartment complex on College Avenue.

“There was one break-in there on that same day, February 28, and there were two or three from the following days,” Wintermote said.

Earle said she, as well as other victims at The Gramercy, all left their cars unlocked the night of the thefts.

“My boss’s friend and my roommate both had their car broken into,” Earle said. “They both left their car unlocked.”

Joshua Kelley, property manager of Prime Place, said the burglaries at their location mirrored those at The Gramercy. 

“Every car that we know had been broken into was unlocked,” Kelley said.

Wintermote said 80-90% of car break-ins in Manhattan are due to people leaving their cars unlocked.

“We always suggest that people should just lock their doors,” Wintermote said. “It’s a very easy way to prevent anything from being burglarized, whether that’s your car, house or storage unit. These are quick crimes, so most of the time people aren’t standing around trying to break into something that’s locked.” 

Wintermote said apartment complexes such as The Gramercy and Prime Place are easy targets for vehicle burglars. 

“You have a large concentration of vehicles in a very small area,” Wintermote said. “That is the biggest thing. When you have that many cars in a small location, chances are there’s going to be ones that are unlocked with something inside that [thieves] can steal.” 

After discussing with RCPD, Kelley said he thinks there were multiple thieves involved who were not residents of Prime Place or The Gramercy. 

“It might’ve been an out-of-town crew that came through and hit all of these apartments in one evening,” Kelley said. 

RCPD has not reported any suspects for the vehicle burglaries.