In the past few months, the number of burglaries occurring at the Knox Crest Apartments at 644 South Academy has increased greatly. Many of the residents of the apartment complex are Knox students, and at least three different apartments rented by students have been robbed. The items stolen are almost always electronic valuables. Some tenants are hoping that the landlord will now make good on his past promises to install new locks on the outside doors.
In a report from the Galesburg Police Department, Knox senior Teala Grant’s apartment was broken into on March 29, and the suspect stole her laptop computer, valued at $688. Sophomore Larissa Hahn, who also lived in Grant’s apartment before she made arrangements to move out because of the robberies, had her Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2, Wii controller, and three Wii games stolen. The total value of electronics stolen is $1,188. The police report, written by Officer Ryne Sage, states there was “damage to the front door. The damage indicated that someone tried to pry open the door, near the deadbolt.”
When asked who she thought might have robbed them, Grant said, “[At first] we thought it was these kids. The kids who live in the trailer behind us might have robbed Jules [Trachsel], but I don’t think they robbed us. I know a lot of people in town and I think it’s someone who’s been hanging out in my place.” Since the robberies, the other residents of Grant’s apartment, Hahn and junior Sam Lonsberry, have moved out and she is now the only one who lives there.
Juniors Jules Trachsel and Corey Heppner’s apartment has had the most frequent break-ins of residents at Knox Crest. Trachsel said their apartment has been broken into “four times since September, [and someone] tried to break in another time but they just broke the window.” Among things stolen from their residence were laptops and cameras.
Trachsel and Heppner have moved out of their apartment since the last robbery in March, and they have not received any of their stolen items back.
Some residents of Knox Crest have taken a few precautions since the increase in robberies. Junior Andrew Brasher and senior Alex Roth had an alarm system installed on their apartment door. Last year, Brasher lived in the apartment in which Trachsel was living this year, but he didn’t have as many problems with robberies.
“We got robbed one time, but [my roommate] Dennis had told someone to watch the apartment and that person kind of took advantage of that situation,” Brasher said. His apartment has not been broken into at all this year.
“[Our landlord] was saying for months that he was going to lock the exterior doors,” said Brasher. “He didn’t really want to do anything about it because it would cost too much, but then I talked to him today and he said he was going to try it. I [feel] much more confident in the chances of him actually doing something.”
Bill Kuchenthal, the landlord of Knox Crest Apartments, said he has never seen burglaries like this at Knox Crest in the past, and that he wants to look into locking the exterior doors to the apartments sometime next week.
“Every time a tenant moves out, we put new locks on [the inside] doors,” Kuchenthal said. “We’re trying to figure out how to lock the building[s] securely, but it takes coordination with the police department and the fire department, and the postman has to have a key, too.”
He also said it’s more complicated to have a self-locking door installed.
“I don’t know if it’s the neighborhood or if there’s a tenant in the building that maybe had some bad friends or what the problem was,” said Kuchenthal. “People are looking to steal something to sell for money. The economy probably [is a factor].”
All of the reported robberies have occurred on the north side of the apartment complex, which leads some residents to believe that the residents of the trailers behind the north side find a way to climb up onto the balconies of the Knox Crest Apartments and break in through the sliding doors, which often have lock problems.
In another police report written by Officer Torry Carnes, which has no names of residents but only that the incident happened on March 20, states, “On [March 20] this officer was dispatched to 644 South Academy in reference to damage to property. This officer was advised that two Hispanic males and a black male and a mixed male had been involved in a possible burglary to a residence.” The report consists of a storm door being broken after an attempted break-in.
Junior Sam Newport’s apartment was also broken into on March 19. Items stolen from her residence included a 26” LCD television, an iPod Nano, an iPod charger, and $20. She reported to police that she believes the subject entered through her sliding glass door.