University Police Department officers arrested a man dubbed as the “lunchtime bandit” Tuesday, an alleged burglar who reportedly began breaking into vehicles parked in campus parking garages during lunch hours in December.
UPD Chief Kevin Hay said the subject has allegedly broken into six cars during lunchtime and stolen more than $1,000 worth of electronics and other property.
UPD developed a lookout system to patrol the Marvin Center and GW Medical Faculty Associates parking garages over the past two weeks, after multiple burglaries were reported in the locations during the hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Hay said.
He added that UPD monitored both garages for any suspects entering either of the two parking decks during those hours, and discovered the suspect entering the locations during that time period.
Officers arrested the suspect, dressed as a businessman, at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, but did not find any stolen property on him at the time. Hay said the subject – a 39-year-old man at 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 230 pounds – was carrying two screwdrivers and a flashlight, and was barred from campus after his capture. Hay is unable to release names from UPD records. The man is unaffiliated with GW,
The subject was coined the “lunchtime bandit” after he was seen on security cameras at the garages only between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Hay said.
The suspect allegedly smashed car windows and pried open doors to steal property, which included two iPod Touch devices, purses and backpacks, gift cards, two GPS units, a checkbook, an iPhone and Metro farecards.
At the time of the arrest, the suspect, carrying a satchel, was “shopping cars” – or walking through a parking garage near unoccupied cars, Hay said.
Hay said leaving valuables in plain sight in a car is a sure-fire way to attract burglars to your property.
“Despite the signs that we post, people leave valuables in plain sight in their cars all the time,” Hay said.
Hay said the suspect has a criminal record and was on probation after being convicted for theft and assault.
UPD is working on a follow-up investigation with his probation officer.