While out of town over winter break, LSA senior Katie Awood received surprising news from a friend who had gone to her house to feed her lizard: Ann Arbor police had arrived to investigate a break-in.

Sarah Royce
A broken lock in a student residence on Sybil Street. (PHOTO BY RODRIGO GAYA/Daily)
Sarah Royce
A student stands next to a broken door in her Sybil Street house that was burglarized over winter break. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY RODRIGO GAYA/Daily)
Sarah Royce
The future Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy building, currently under construction, will include classrooms for the new public policy program. (RODRIGO GAYA/Daily)

Awood was a victim of one of the 15 holiday burglaries in the Ann Arbor area over break.

The burglaries took place at 11 locations between Dec. 16 and Jan. 3. A total of $10,500 was reported stolen, mostly computer equipment, DVD players and other electronics.

Ann Arbor Police Chief Greg O’Dell noted that the number of break-ins decreased from the same period last year, during which 24 home invasions were reported, resulting in a total loss of $55,000 in cash and property.

Police have increased patrols around the student areas south of campus because of the thefts. Police arrested a suspect Sunday on the 1100 block of Packard Street who was acting suspiciously. The man was found near a house and charged with disorderly prowling.

LSA junior Emily Nykaza, whose apartment on the 700 block of Arch Street was burglarized, said she was surprised the thieves chose to target her house because of the presence of police in her area.

“They always sit in the park across the street to try and catch people turning left,” she said. “There are always cops around here.”

Nykaza and her housemate and recent graduate Caitlin Lackie noted that the burglars had some odd habits.

“A jar full of change was stolen but the (burglar) left the cup it was in,” Lackie said. “He must have dumped it out.”

Lackie, who also reported her computer stolen, said the burglar had not taken her USB cable with the computer but instead laid it out on top of her desk.

Awood, who lives in the same apartment building as Nykaza and Lackie, said the only item stolen was a laptop, while a DVD player, television and computer keyboard had not been touched.

A resident of a house that was burglarized over the break, who wished not to be named because of the possibility of another break-in, said all of her doors were locked and dead-bolted during the break.

“They broke in the side door. I think they used a crowbar to pry the door open,” she said.

The student said the burglars used something to pry open the locked door to her room and to move her desk to reach her computer.

Because the burglars did not rummage through her room, the student said she does not feel less safe.

“They didn’t look for anything besides my computer,” she said. “It would have been a lot different if my room would have been torn up.”

Awood said she doesn’t feel safe at all since the theft. She had locked her doors and windows locked and blames the thefts on easily breakable doors and accessible upstairs windows.

“The doors are just plywood boxes – very sketchy,” Awood said.


– Anne VanderMey contributed to this report

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