Vending machine related crimes at the University of Kansas are on the rise, according to police records.
Last week, the Kansan reported a string of vending machine break-ins from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1. Updated police records now show three more incidents on Oct. 1 and another on Oct. 5. The vending machines also sustained criminal damage , leading to at least $3,000 in damage in total from all break-ins, according to police records.
The damage to the machines varied from case to case, but generally entailed attempts to pry the machines open, damage to the front of the machine and in some cases, stolen money boxes, said Deputy Chief James Anguiano from the KU Public Safety Office. Typically, the crimes are reported as criminal damage to property. However, when money boxes were stolen, those crimes are upgraded to attempted burglary.
As of Monday, the affected buildings include Strong Hall, Bailey Hall, Wescoe Hall, Malott Hall, Fraser Hall, Twente Hall and the Dole Human Development Center. Most of the crimes were reported to have occurred after 10 p.m., when the buildings are supposed to be closed.
Anguiano said he believes the break-ins are not coincidental, but rather a string of crimes committed by one individual or a group of the same individuals. This is partly because PSO has seen issues like this before. The Kansan reported that 17 vending machines were damaged in the last week of June 2017, and Anguiano recalled a surprisingly similar string of vending machine crimes that occurred in 2014.
“It was strange because we had a lot of similar stuff that happened [in 2014] … so, we try to look for similarities and things like that,” Anguiano said. “We’re trying to gather more evidence, more information, as we investigate these types of crimes.”
As of now, KU PSO has no leads but is patrolling the area and actively investigating the crimes.
“We’ve just been investigating and trying to get evidence from the machines,” Anguiano said.
Anguiano also urges civilians who see anything out of place, such as a machine that’s open, to call KU PSO immediately.
“We encourage individuals if they see anything suspicious or someone in a building that’s supposed to be closed … to call the non-emergency number. Or, if they have information to help us out, that’s also appropriate,” Anguiano said.