Contact: Wendel Sloan at 575.562.2253
PORTALES — In the month of September Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales began experiencing a rash of auto burglaries. On Friday, Sept. 30, the first phase of a university-wide initiative to have surveillance cameras progressively installed across campus was completed. The Campus Union Building (CUB) Parking Lot was one such location covered by the initial installation, according to Brad Mauldin, chief of ENMU Police.
On Monday, Oct. 3, at approximately 3:45 p.m. an auto burglary was reported to the ENMU Police Department. The manner of the auto burglary followed a trend the suspect(s) used in previous auto burglaries on campus. Surveillance footage was reviewed and the ENMU Police Department was able to identify a suspect vehicle and suspect(s) in this case.
The investigation that followed led to the arrest of a juvenile female for auto burglary. The unnamed juvenile female admitted to committing multiple auto burglaries at ENMU with assistance. The unnamed juvenile female is expected to face additional charges. Three other adults and another juvenile, who are also expected to face charges, have been implicated in this string of auto burglaries. Several other arrests are expected to follow, according to Mauldin.
Local law enforcement agencies have coordinated their efforts to combat this new trend of what some have referred to as "Car Hopping," "Car Jumping," or "Door Fishing," according to Mauldin.
Burglars individually or in teams go through a parking lot or residential area checking car doors for unlocked vehicles and/or those with their windows rolled down. Very seldom is force used to enter these vehicles. The burglar enter the vehicles and remove whatever items are immediately available.
These thefts can take place in seconds. "Please help your local law enforcement by reporting any and all suspicious activity. These suspects are very good at blending into their environment. Do not make assumptions based upon an individual's appearance; make them based upon the individual's behavior. Do not make assumptions about the time frame," said Mauldin.
Many of the burglaries on campus have occurred in populated parking lots between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. "One of the greatest protections against opportunistic theft is making sure that your vehicle is locked with the windows completely rolled up and valuables of any kind secured out of plain sight," said Mauldin.
"I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of ENMU and the local community to two law enforcement officers who have been instrumental and dedicated in the closure of several of these burglary cases. They are Detective Gary Ford Jr. of the ENMU Police Department and Sergeant Kane Wyatt of the Portales Police Department. Their investigative ability, intuition, and perseverance are a credit to this community. Detective Gary Ford Jr. was able to successfully close several cases at ENMU. Sergeant Kane Wyatt has done an excellent job of coordinating with our agency and recently secured the confession of a suspect who had been involved in a string of auto burglaries at '801' base housing," said Mauldin.
For more information, call ENMU Police at 575.562.2392