By Katie Zeck
Senior computer information systems major Derek Rogers became the fifth victim of a motor vehicle theft trend that has developed in the past two weeks in the Lawrence and Ewing Township area.
According to Lt. Charles Edgar of the Lawrence Township Police, Rogers parked his black 1997 Acura CL in R lot on Monday, Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. and noticed his car missing when he returned to the lot at 12:01 a.m. the next morning.
The 23-year-old resident called Public Safety and with the assistance of Public Safety officers, attempted to locate the vehicle by driving around campus; however, the car could not be found. At that time, the victim went to the residence hall of a friend who has a spare key to the car to see if the friend had borrowed it. When it became clear that his friend did not have the vehicle, Rogers called Lawrence Township Police.
The car was officially reported stolen at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The investigation is ongoing. If identified, the suspect faces indictable charges, Edgar said.
The theft of Rogers’ car followed the robbery of a green 1997 Honda Civic on Monday, Nov. 21. According to Edgar, the vehicle belonged to a resident of the 700 block of Lawrence Road. On Friday, Nov. 18, Edgar confirmed that a 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity was reported stolen from the parking lot near the Lord & Taylor department store in the Quaker Bridge Mall. Also that Friday, two vehicles were taken from the campus of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
According to an email sent out by TCNJ’s Office of Campus Police to the student body at 12:50 p.m. on Friday, a 1993 Nissan and a 1994 Honda were stolen from a commuter parking lot. The email went on to say that “these thefts occurred without any confrontation or evidence of forced entry.”
According to Public Safety, there is no current evidence that the stolen automobiles are associated with one another.
“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with issues occurring on both [TCNJ’s and Rider’s] campuses,” said Head of Public Safety Vickie Weaver. “We remind people to always lock your car during a holiday period and to not leave valuable items out in the open in your car. Whether your vehicle is located off-campus or on-campus, there are key times in the year where thefts are higher, and certainly this time of year they are.”