‘They ripped the TV off its hinges’: We spoke to students who’ve been burgled at uni
One unlucky student was burgled twice in the space of nine months
Everyone knows that when you rent a student house, you can’t expect a particularly good security system. Doors are easy to break into, people lose their keys, the windows are basically hanging off, not to mention the back door always being open because your mate who smokes keeps forgetting to lock it behind them.
The last thing on anyone’s mind whilst living on campus and partying in halls, is that they might get burgled and have their things stolen. We’ve revealed the student areas with the most burglaries, and ranked the uni cities with the most burglaries, but here The Tab speaks to students who have experienced being burgled while at uni, and they shared with us what it was like:
‘They robbed half a bottle of vodka’
Maddy, a Coventry student, told The Tab about the two times she was burgled whilst at uni – the first time being in her second year, and then again during summer, between second and third year. The house they lived in was a terraced house, and Maddy says “you could see all the way down from the front to the back of the house”.
It was Halloween of second year, and both Maddy and her other housemate were out at their boyfriends’ houses, while their other two housemates went out for a Halloween party, not getting back until midnight, returning to smashed double doors at the back of the house. “Someone had smashed through the pane of glass and reached through, turned the key and opened the door.” Frustratingly, Maddy recalls it being “the one time, the ONE time that I left my MacBook downstairs and not in my room, and they didn’t even go upstairs.”
They robbed three laptops, three speakers, a PS4, an Xbox, one Xbox controller, and a backpack but, strangely, Maddy says “loads of stuff was missed. My housemate had a full drawer of cash but they were in a rush, so took weird stuff like half a bottle of vodka and aftershave.” The forensics found fingerprints on the TV, but it was fixed to the wall, so they couldn’t manage it in time. Maddy says her and her housemates thought: “Oh ok, at least we have the TV.”
Then, in summer between second and third year, their new housemate visited the house on his own to find they were burgled again. Maddy says: “They broke in the same way again and stole the TV off its hinges.” Burgled twice in a nine-month period, they eventually got triple extra-strong glass to stop it from happening again.
‘We all felt like the house had been watched for a few days before’
Sheffield Hallam graduate Abbie told The Tab about when her student house was burgled whilst they were at home for Christmas in their third year of uni. Abbie and three other girls had gone home for Christmas, but their other housemate was still working, so was at the house on her own. Abbie says: “She had got back from work and noticed my bedroom door (which was locked) and downstairs had been kicked in.” Going through to the kitchen, she discovered the back door open, with the lock ripped off. Abbie’s housemate rang the police and called a friend because she was terrified.
She then went into her room to see everything expensive had been taken, including her MacBook, all of her branded jewellery and the Christmas presents she had bought for her family. They noticed the burglars only seemed to take small things, with Abbie saying they left the TVs. Some of Abbie’s jewellery including a Ted Baker watch had been taken, but Abbie says: “They left my cheap stuff so they must have known what they wanted.” She also says: “We kept seeing suspicious people lurking, but we always kept the lights in the hallway on so I think they had seen it was all dark.”
The police reckoned there was more than one person involved in the burglary, and that someone next door must have disturbed the burglars as they only got to two bedrooms out of five. Abbie says: “When we got back in January, a house down the road came to tell us they had been burgled, and to be extra careful. But sadly it had already happened.”
‘Always make sure the front windows are locked and curtains are closed at night!!’
Chloe, a Reading grad, told The Tab the burglary happened during the middle of the night, whilst all of her housemates were in the house, when a burglar broke in through a window in an unoccupied bottom floor bedroom. One of Chloe’s housemates had left the window on the second latch, so it wasn’t fully shut, but wasn’t open either. The burglar broke open the latch and got into their house, propping the fire door (so as not to slam it) with her housemate’s bike. Despite this, Chloe is adamant she “heard something, but didn’t think anything of it, it could’ve been someone going to the toilet.” The burglar successfully entered the living room, where Chloe says they grabbed her housemate’s laptop and then went back out of the front door.
It wasn’t until the next morning, when Chloe and her housemate were up for a 9am, they noticed the front door was open. “We thought a friend of ours had broken in the night before when he left.” Only when she had received a call from her housemate asking if she had seen her laptop, did it sink in that someone had broken in. The housemates then called the police and an investigator went round: “They dabbed a substance around the window and front door, revealing many fingerprints which was creepy!” It wasn’t until the evening that Chloe discovered the burglar had stolen her housemate’s key, so they had to get the front door lock changed.
Chloe says: “The joke was on them though because my friend’s laptop was dying anyway, and in the unoccupied room [the burglar broke into], we had a Wii in there and loads of Xbox games.” So really, the burglar missed a trick there.
‘He left his bedroom window open and someone had climbed through’
Em, a student at York, told The Tab it was during her first year whilst still in halls, when her flatmate was burgled. She explains: “I was in the kitchen and one of the boys I was living with came in and said that he’d had his things stolen.” When her flatmate had gone into the kitchen to cook, he had left his window open and someone had climbed through.
Em says: “They stole his laptop, phone, computer monitor and keys.” Her flatmate immediately reported it and the police went to investigate. Em explains: “The uni refunded his expenses.”