Thieves hit Cowley students twice in a week

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THIEVES made off with thousands of pounds in electronic equipment after breaking into two student houses in the Cowley Road area last week.
Police have urged vigilance against “opportunistic” criminals after two houses, both rented by Wadham students, were burgled while their occupants were out at parties.
In the first incident, which took place last Saturday, thieves entered through the front door without causing any damage.
One girl, who wished to remain anonymous, said she only noted valuables were missing when her housemate couldn’t find her laptop the morning after a night out.
“We all went out to a bop, and it was the first time we’d all gone out at the same time,” she said. “We came back and all went to bed. There was no sign of forced entry. One girl noticed a laptop was missing the next morning and came to my room. We noticed that three laptops and an iPod were also gone.”
The house did not have the correct level of security demanded by the insurance policy, meaning they may be unable to claim compensation for their losses. “We’re not sure if we can claim insurance,” she said. “There’s a certain grade of lock that you need in order to claim, and its quite a big issue.”
The other burglary occurred in a house nearby, during which thieves entered through an open back window.
According to one occupant, the house was empty at the time of the theft. “We went out at 11 and someone came back at 12 and the front door was open,” she said. “They took four laptops, a wallet, four MP3 players and a jewellery box.
“The police came round and fingerprinted the house but they said there were glove marks, and so weren’t sure if there was much chance of catching the thieves.”
Police have warned the students’ lax attitudes to security were partly to blame.
Graham Milne, a Crime Reduction Advisor at Thames Valley Police, said, “Most burglaries are opportunist and happen due to insecurities. Something has probably been left open. Nine times out of ten its due to students.”
Milne added that thieves were attracted by student houses due to the prevalence of expensive electronic equipment. “Students have what criminals want. Our advice is to keep everything out of sight and mark up your PC using UV pens so that if we recover it we can return it.”By Jake Whittal

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