Cars an easy target for campus thieves

Detectives say it takes thieves a minute or less to break into a car and get away with your valuables

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) –Columbus Police are warning OSU students about the campus area being a hot spot for break-ins.

When classes started last year at Ohio State, police say thieves broke into 600 cars in the first six months.

Detective Ben Crawford with the Columbus Police Auto Crimes Unit said students have a bad habit of leaving valuables in plain sight inside their cars.

“You see people leaving their book bags, their computers, their iPads, just a bunch of school supplies in there and the thieves would love to have the computers because they are easy to move and easily to sell out here,” Detective Ben Crawford said.

Detective Crawford said the thieves blend right in with the students and target anyone with out of town license plates.

“Usually it’s a younger type of individual that has a book bag with them. They don’t stick out at all,” Detective Crawford said. “People have to be more observant.”

He also said leaving your bags in the trunk or trying to hide your keys under a mat is a bad idea.

Crawford said the thieves are smarter than most people think and very organized. They will break a car window, grab whatever is left in the car, and be gone in 60 seconds.

“Don’t leave anything in your car that you can’t afford to lose because it will be gone. This area is a high target area so just make sure everything is out of sight or put away,” Detective Crawford said.

Criminals aren’t always working overnight. Detective Crawford said thieves will focus on breakfast, lunch, and dinner time when they know people are busy. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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