The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

VUPD reports two vehicle thefts, five vehicle break-ins near campus

One vehicle was stolen from the Wesley Place Garage, and the second theft and break-ins all occurred in university lots near Warren and Moore Colleges.
Parker Smith
A sign for Lot 5A, a student and staff lot north of Warren College, as photographed on Oct. 17, 2023. (Hustler Staff/Parker Smith)

Vanderbilt students received an email from Vanderbilt University Public Safety on Oct. 14 detailing one vehicle theft and five associated break-ins around Warren and Moore Colleges, as well as another theft at the Wesley Place Garage.

“VUPD received a report that a white Honda Accord had been stolen from Lot 5A. This incident is associated with five vehicles being broken into between Lots 5A, 12A and Terrace Place,” the email reads. “In addition to these reports, VUPD received a report that a Subaru was stolen from Wesley Place Garage on Oct. 13.”

Caption: Part of Vanderbilt’s parking map, showing Lot 5A, Lot 12A and Terrace Place. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University Parking Services)

Camera footage showed a group of unidentified individuals in a “large, dark truck” pulling into Lot 5A and breaking into six cars in Lot 5A, Lot 12A and street-side parking on Terrace Place, the notice added. These individuals were recorded driving away with the Honda Accord toward 20th Avenue. 

Caption: Part of Vanderbilt’s parking map, showing Wesley Place Garage. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University Parking Services)

The notice concluded by encouraging Vanderbilt students to secure items such as keys, wallets and purses and to avoid leaving valuables visible inside of their cars. It did not make clear whether the first theft at Wesley Place Garage was related to the subsequent theft and break-ins around Lot 5A; VUPD is investigating whether they are connected.

VUPD told The Hustler it believes the primary motive for the break-ins near Terrace Place was the theft of valuables rather than the theft of the cars themselves, but did not elaborate on the reasoning behind this belief.

“The subsequent theft of motor vehicles may have been a secondary motive,” VUPD said.

VUPD said that the number of simultaneous incidents was concerning, but that thefts around campus are not necessarily uncommon.

“The number of vehicles broken into during these specific incidents is atypical from what we have seen in previous semesters,” VUPD said. “We do not currently have any information that would suggest that Vanderbilt students or parking lots were specifically targeted. As expected, Vanderbilt University sees a larger number of reports when school is in session and there are a larger number of people on campus – and it is not unusual to see an increase in thefts as we approach the holiday season.”

VUPD added that it does not have any additional details on the incidents to share at this time.

“At this time, the information we have available has been released to the public,” VUPD said. “These incidents are being actively investigated by VUPD and MNPD to determine the nature of this trend. VUPD is increasing patrols on campus and in parking lots adjacent to campus, and we ask that any suspicious activity be immediately reported to the police department.

Senior Russell Hughes said he was concerned about the notice of the break-ins near Lot 5A.

“I park my car there daily, so I was definitely worried about it when I got the email,” Hughes said. “I wish they could have provided more details on how they were working to limit future issues like the ones this weekend.”

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About the Contributor
Parker Smith
Parker Smith, Former Deputy News Editor
Parker Smith ('24) is majoring in computer science and political science in the School of Engineering. He enjoys playing guitar in his spare time and is a former Starbucks barista and self-proclaimed coffee expert. He can be reached at [email protected].
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