A Webster university student living in Glen Park apartments reported a break-in on Aug. 22. Webster Groves Police Department (WGPD) is leading the investigation.
Webster student and Glen Park resident Jinyu Bao, who lives in China but is studying in Webster Groves, found her luggage ripped open and her books spread across the floor of her Webster Groves apartment.
Bao said she realized some of her things were missing after unpacking, a Webster backpack and a pair of winter boots, which she said were worth about $170, were missing. Her suitcase was forcefully opened, with the zipper and lock destroyed.
“I wasn’t thinking of breaking-in at first,” Bao said. “I thought it could be the moving company doing a routine check.”
Bao said Hazzard Moving and Storage company, which delivered her luggage, confirmed that they had not opened anything, said there could have been a break-in. Bao then turned to Webster’s Public Safety Office and WGPD.
Xiaotao Xu, Bao’s roommate, had a shoe rack taken from the apartment as well.
The break-in could have happened between August 10, when Bao’s luggage was shipped to Webster, and before she arrived on August 18. The exact time is not clear, but security camera footage from the hallway may tell something.
The police a collected fingerprints at the scene but found no evidence. WGPD could not be reached for comment by press time. Bao said she hopes the se- curity camera footage will shed some light on the situation.
“They did try their best to help. I just want them to be more effective,” Xu added.
Bao and Xu said they felt they did not get enough attention from Webster.
Glen Park is not a school property but is leased by the university.
“It is not the same kind of facility as the apartments on campus here, I mean, they are not staffed the same way. We have as much staff presence there as we can,” said John Buck, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Housing and Residential Life. “It is a good reaction for students living there to call the police directly because, after all, it is not a campus apartment building.”
This is not the first time break-in incidents happened to Glen Park. Another incident was reported around the same time last year, before the start of the school year.
Mingwei Shi, the victim from the break-in incident last year, is a close friend of Bao and Xu. He said he was angry when he heard about another break-in.
Housing and Residential Life has been working on precau- tionary device installation since the incident last year. Devices to prevent break-ins have been in- stalled on some doors and windows in Glen Park, but there are not in every room.
“The department will look into it and continue working on it,” said Buck.
Surveillance cameras were installed November 2015. Buck said the presence of cameras can act as a deterrent for crimes, but so far they have not pro- vided any information about this incident.
Shi said that Glen Park deserves more attention due to the
high frequency of incidents and he would love to have public safety patrol frequently just as they did last year.
“I would love to see relating departments take actions to make things up,” Bao said. “I don’t want to be disappointed again.”