c/o Middletown Police Department

c/o Middletown Police Department

At least 26 cars near the University had their windows broken and valuables taken from them around 3:00 a.m. on Monday, March 25. Two of the vehicles were student cars parked on Pearl Street and Court Street, and at least 17 other vehicles were damaged north of Washington Street. Detectives from the Middletown Police Department (MPD) are currently investigating the incidents and have found that the three suspects drove away from the scene in a white four-door BMW. 

Middletown wasn’t the only city affected by vandalism this weekend, as 43 vehicles were broken into at an apartment complex in Rocky Hill on Sunday, March 24. However, the MPD says that seeing this many cases of vandalism in one night is generally uncommon. 

“Typically it’s isolated to one particular area and they don’t hit so many locations and so many vehicles at once,” MPD Captain Brian Hubbs said. “Rocky Hill had something to the effect of 41 cars broken into, and it was limited to just one parking [lot] of an apartment complex.” 

Initially, only 21 cases of vandalized vehicles were reported to the MPD on Monday, according to a news release by the MPD on Tuesday, March 26. Calls continue to come to the police, and at least five more cars have been reported damaged since then. The case has been handed over to the detective division at the MPD due to the large number of incidents, and they are working with other agencies outside of Middletown that were involved in similar cases. They identified the suspect vehicle using surveillance footage and are working on identifying the three concealed individuals in the car.  

In conjunction with their investigation, the MPD is ramping up patrol efforts both in the north end of Middletown, where the vandalism took place, and in other areas they deem at risk for further damage. 

“We have to increase our patrols throughout the city because they tend to not go back to the same areas,” Hubbs said. “We’ve increased patrols into areas that we think might be a potential for victimization.” 

Any students who are concerned about potential damage to their vehicles should be sure to lock their doors, refrain from leaving extra keys within them, and remove any valuables from them. Students should avoid leaving their backpacks inside vehicles in general, as thieves may steal them looking for laptops.  

“Don’t leave anything of value in plain view or leave any indication that there’s something of value in the vehicle,” Hubbs said. “A lot of the victims that had their windows broken were only missing loose change, but even something as simple as loose change can draw their attention if they’re just peering in the windows.” 

Hubbs recommends that students call Public Safety or the MPD if they notice any suspicious activity taking place. 

“I would encourage students [to] be aware of their surroundings,” Hubbs said. “If they see something that’s suspicious, make sure they’re reporting it to either us or to Public Safety, so that we could get a response started sooner than later. Even if they’ve only hit one vehicle, if we’re coming into the area, it alerts them that we are now looking for them, so it will get them out of the area and avoid further victims.”

Caleb Henning can be reached at chenning@wesleyan.edu