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Police investigating string of break-ins near VCU campus

RICHMOND, Va. --   Richmond Police are investigating a series of break-ins and thefts near VCU Monroe Park campus.

Police said a criminal has been targeting office buildings and homes near the university.

One crime occurred at a VCU building in the 800 block of West Franklin Street, the other two at apartments nearby. All crimes took place sometime over the weekend.

On Sunday, in the 400 block of West Grace street a man was home when he found a stranger, in his house, bagging up personal items.

Police said no one was harmed, but the suspect got away and is still on the loose.

Earlier on the same day, in the 900 block of West Clay Street, a woman returned home to find shattered windows and noises coming from inside.

At some point over the weekend, police said someone entered the Franklin St. building through an exterior basement door. Once inside, several interior office doors were forced open and items removed.

An alert was sent from the university to warn students and faculty, an occurrence sophomore Julia Howard said has become all too common.

“We get those notifications like every other day and I don`t really pay attention to them just because it`s so common, it`s like receiving a homework notification,” Howard said.

Investigators said no arrests have been made at this point.

Police declined to say whether the break ins are connected, but reminded everyone to make sure you are locking your doors and windows, even when you are home

The VCU Police said the best defense is to be prepared and to take responsibility for safety.

A few key reminders from police:

  • Always lock all windows and doors even when home.
  • Never hide a key to your home outside. Burglars often know all the hiding places.
  • Good lighting is a deterrent to crime and allows residents to see the pathway from their vehicle to their home. All entry doors should be equipped with lighting.
  • Motion lighting is a good option in areas that may be intrusive to neighbors.
  • If you are going out of town, make arrangements to have mail picked up daily or have the post office suspend mail deliveries.
  • Reflective house or street numbers clearly visible on your home can save valuable time and assist first responders locate your home.
  • When going out of town, and if you live in the City of Richmond off campus, notify the city to be placed on the vacation watch list at: http://www.richmondgov.com/police/vacationwatch.aspx
  • Keep shades or curtains drawn after dark.
  • "Case" your residence the way an intruder would and look for ways to enter your residence.
  • Install deadbolt locks on exterior doors.
  • Trim trees and shrubs near windows and doors so intruders can't hide in the shadows.