At least one University of Texas Rio Grande Valley student was a victim of a series of car burglaries in Texas Southmost parking lots last month.
Art education senior Arlene Escobedo told The Rider that she parked her car in TSC Lot P2 next to the Science and Engineering Technology Building on Oct. 2 while she worked on a project at the art studio in Rusteberg Hall.
“Around midnight, I get a call from my mom saying that my car got broken into, and I was like. ‘What do you mean? I’m at school,’” Escobedo said. “So, I went over there to the parking lot and sure enough, my car was broken into. Nothing was taken. There was nothing in there but, yeah, my window was smashed.”
An email from UTRGV Police to the campus community stated that two male suspects, one wearing dark-colored shorts and the other wearing blue jeans, were last seen headed north toward a neighborhood away from campus.
“[TSC] campus security had heard, well, I guess heard [my alarm], and then saw two guys in white shirts run off and they couldn’t find them,” Escobedo said. “They later called actual cops, and those cops called my mom.”
Escobedo was the first of six victims in the series of break- ins that took place between 7 p.m. and midnight in October.
Other reported break-ins:
–9:40 p.m. Oct. 10 in TSC Lot P3 (Eidman Hall area). A Pioneer car stereo and an iPod were stolen.
–11:28 p.m. Oct. 16 in TSC Lot P2–SET-B area. Auto insurance information appeared to be missing from the vehicle.
–10:27 p.m. Oct. 18 in TSC Lot P3
–8:54 p.m. Oct. 20 in TSC Lot P2 (South Hall area)
–10:55 p.m. Oct. 23 in TSC Lot P2 (Jacob Brown Auditorium/Arts Center)
Edgar Chrnko Salas, director of marketing and community relations for TSC, emailed The Rider a statement from Chet Lewis, TSC’s vice president of Finance and Administration: “We are aware of some recent incidents involving vehicles at the campus. Security is of utmost importance and Texas Southmost College has adjusted security surveillance strategies and increased security presence in areas that have been affected. We are also communicating and coordinating efforts with the Brownsville Police Department and UTRGV Police.”
Students, staff and faculty who hold UTRGV parking permits may park in any Texas Southmost College parking lots or spaces. TSC and UTRGV legacy institution UT Brownsville were in a partnership for more than 20 years.
J. J. Treviño, a public information officer for the Brownsville Police Department, said no suspects have been arrested in connection with the burglaries.
UTRGV Police Chief Raul Munguia said that oftentimes the department does not hear about cases happening on the TSC campus.
“We heard about one, then after we kind of inquired about it, we then heard that there had been a series of them,” Munguia said about the car burglaries. “Well, that kind of threw up a red warning flag for us, and that, we found out on a Saturday. That being the case, we decided that at least our campus community should know. I mean, because we’re right there. Ringgold Road is what divides us. Still, it’s too close for comfort and some of our students are over there, so we felt our students needed to know. So, we put up that advisory.”
The advisory followed with safety tips that include not leaving valuables in plain sight, securing valuables in the vehicle’s trunk and not allowing suspicious persons or strangers inside your vehicle.
Munguia said he and TSC’s new security team, American Surveillance, will share information more closely as well as have a better working relationship.
UTRGV Police will also order bicycles for public safety officers and security guards in an effort to be more engaged in the inner campus in Edinburg and Brownsville.
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity is encouraged to call University Police at 882-8232 in Brownsville or 665-7151 in Edinburg.