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Police search for car burglar

April 8, 1997

By Martha Roberts

Lariat Reporter

The Waco and Baylor Departments of Public Safety are investigating five weekend car burglaries that took place in and around the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village.

The burglaries occurred Saturday afternoon during the 19th annual Pioneer Days festival, according to Lt. Gary Sargent of the Baylor Police. Two of the burglaries occurred in the parking lot of Fort Fisher; the Waco Police Department is investigating those crimes.

According to Sargent, the suspects shattered windows on all five cars. Items taken included purses and camera equipment left in plain view, Sargent said.

'People walk through the parking lot and see something they want and decide to break in,' Sargent said. 'Just a minute or two and they're gone.'

Sargent recommended that students lock valuables in the trunk or place them out of view to discourage would-be thieves. Even a few minutes away from your vehicle could be enough time to become a burglary victim, according to Sargent; one victim was away from the car for only 15 minutes.

'Students need to be aware that this is occurring more frequently around campus,' Sargent said. 'They need to be very cognizant of what they're leaving in the car overnight or even for a few minutes.'

Sargent warned that students need to be especially careful when packing up their cars for long trips.

Police described the suspects in all five burglaries as two young Hispanic males, driving a black pickup truck. There were no witnesses to the crimes, but several people reported seeing the suspects' vehicle repeatedly driving through the parking lot. Sargent would not reveal additional information until police had a chance to contact the suspects.

Approximately 140 people attended the festival Saturday, according to Calvin Smith, chair of the museum studies department and director of the Strecker Museum Complex, which oversees the Historic Village. Smith was not aware of the incidents until after the fact and was unable to offer more information.

'This is the first time it's ever happened,' Smith said. 'We've never had a single problem before. It was really a shock. I certainly am sorry it happened ... it's not good for Baylor or for us.'

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