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The Daily Tar Heel

Thanksgiving Break-Ins Plague South Campus

University police say they are considering increased patrols around residence halls during Winter Break.

According to police reports, five rooms in Craige and Hinton James residence halls were robbed during the four-day weekend. A DVD player, a VHS recorder and a television were among the items stolen, which totaled more than $530 for the five rooms.

"They pretty much ransacked our room," said freshman Christie McDaniel, who lives in Craige. "I just really felt violated."

University police Maj. Jeff McCracken said the burglaries are still under investigation and appear to be connected. Officials have no suspects at this time.

McDaniel said she and her roommate had their window screen broken and the contents of their dresser drawers emptied onto the floor. Despite the mess left behind, McDaniel said the burglar only stole her roommate's combination TV/VCR.

In two of the five rooms, nothing was stolen, reports state. But damage was reported in all rooms.

Sophomore Glenn Hollar, also a Craige resident, said he felt angry when he returned to school to find a Super Nintendo, DVD player, checkbook and pillowcase stolen from his room. The estimated cost of the items is more than $300.

According to police reports, the person or people who burglarized the rooms left the rooms in disarray. Police said the burglars might have entered through a window.

Hollar said more should be done to protect student property during vacations. "I think the University could do something to step up the security of the building over breaks," he said.

McCracken said residence halls have been burglarized during past breaks but that this Thanksgiving was especially bad.

"I don't recall in recent years this many (burglaries) happening at one time," McCracken said.

University police officials are constantly trying to increase officer patrols outside the residence halls during extended breaks, McCracken said. In light of these burglaries, McCracken said his department will consider increasing patrols during Winter Break.

Rebecca Casey, assistant director of housing and residential education, said that prior to extended breaks, her office also attempts to inform campus residents of the actions they should take to ensure their rooms will be safe and secure.

"We ask students to unplug all electrical items, lock all windows and doors, close the blinds and take all valuables home," she said.

Despite the Thanksgiving break-ins, Casey does not think students' property is at any additional risk during extended breaks.

Casey said, "(The residence halls) are locked 24 hours a day, and students do not have access to the halls during the breaks."

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