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Student Car Broken Into on Campus

The+targeted+car%27s+shattered+window+after+the+robbery.+Photo+courtesy+of+Sophie+Golub.++
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Student Car Broken Into on Campus

The targeted car's shattered window after the robbery. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

The targeted car's shattered window after the robbery. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

The targeted car's shattered window after the robbery. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

The targeted car's shattered window after the robbery. Photo courtesy of Sophie Golub.

Caroline Frantz, News Editor

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On Sept. 18 between 10:30 and 11:45 a.m., a student’s car was broken into in the student parking lot according to Sophie Golub, the owner of the car. Her passenger seat window was shattered, and her wallet was taken from the seat.

Golub arrived to Menlo around 10:30 a.m. because she had slept in for her free period. Once she got to school and saw no spots were available, she parked in visitor parking with the intention of moving it during lunch. When she got back to her car only an hour later, her car had been broken into. “When I first saw my shattered window I was stunned,” Golub said. “I never thought that at Menlo someone would break into my car.”

“It was freaky that I was only there for an hour and twenty minutes and it got broken into,” Golub said. Golub feels slightly nervous to park her car in the student lot again. “I’ve gotten a really nice email from [Head of School Than] Healy and [Director of Security Tom] Hitchcock who feel really bad about what happened.”

Once Menlo security was notified of the situation, they called the police and filed a report. One concern Golub had was that the security guard at the front of the loop was supposed to be stationed around 50 yards from where the car was parked. According to Hitchcock, the guard that was in front of the lot had gone to the restroom while the break-in occurred. Once the guard got back there wasn’t anyone suspicious in the parking lot.

Hitchcock said it was very unlikely it was a member of Menlo’s security team who broke the window. “We live scan [each guard Menlo hires], and we see what their criminal record is,” Hitchcock said.

Hitchcock believes that someone from the street was watching for the guard to leave and then walked in and smashed the window once he did. “[The criminal] was not very selective; because she was parked so close to the entrance, they probably broke into the first car they could find with a visible object in the front seat.”

Menlo hires guards from Allied Universal, a large security detail company. The next day, Sept. 19, Hitchcock met with representatives from Allied Universal to discuss the incident. According to Hitchcock, Menlo was already in the process of looking at some new security options. “One option is to stay with Allied Universal but to have more [guards] around,” Hitchcock said. “Other options include hiring retired police officers, hiring guards of our own [or switching] to another guard company.”

The Menlo Security team has always considered cameras as a security measure. “Students have always been against having cameras around campus,” Hitchcock said. “[If we get cameras], we will still need a real time monitoring system so someone can [spot suspicious activity in the act].”

In an email sent to the student body from Hitchcock, he states that car break-ins have become more common all along the San Francisco Peninsula. According to CrimeReports, a website designed to help people keep track of crime in their neighborhoods, there have been around 130 car break-ins in the Menlo Park and Palo Alto areas in the past three months.

While Hitchcock is working with the administration to improve Menlo’s security system, he encourages students to be on the lookout for people they don’t know in the parking lots or around campus. “The best security we have here is [the students],” Hitchcock said. “[Students] know who belongs here and who doesn’t.”

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