BY KIM BATES
Drake students fell victim to a silent burglary in the early morning of Sunday, Nov. 4
Paige Aspinwall and Chloe Janich, juniors in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, came home early the morning of Nov. 4 to find their Forest Avenue Village apartment a mess.
Aspinwall arrived home around 1:15 a.m. and stayed home for roughly 40 minutes before leaving for a friend’s house around 2 a.m. She made sure to lock the door before leaving for the evening. Janich came home around 10 a.m. to find the front door completely ajar with every light in their home turned on.
Aspinwall awoke to a call from her mother informing her of fraud on her credit card account, but she said she didn’t think anything of it. The public relations and psychology student later received a call from a friend asking if Aspinwall had taken the car, which she had not.
In the beginning, Aspinwall and Janich said they were not very concerned regarding the state of their apartment. Dresser drawers had been gone through, shopping bags were dumped out, night stands were gone through and a party decoration had been ripped down from its original spot. When Aspinwall left the evening before, the decoration was still in tact.
“It was my 21st birthday,” said Janich, a junior majoring in advertising. “I was coming home to sleep. My head wasn’t there. My head wasn’t in the place that ‘oh something happened here.’”
“It looked messier from when I remembered it, and my first instinct was to grab a garbage bag and start cleaning… I hadn’t even gone in my room yet,” Aspinwall said.
Aspinwall said she then noticed she could not find her keys. At first, this was not cause for alarm because they said the rest of everyone’s keys had been thrown around. After searching for them, she looked outside and realized her car was gone.
“It clicked in my head,” Aspinwall said. “My mom has texted me, the fraud alert thing. So I run into my room and my room is, pretty much, destroyed.”
Both Aspinwall’s and Janich’s wallets were taken, along with Aspinwall’s car, passport and credit cards. Janich’s social security card, purse and credit cards were taken as well.
“Our money, our stuff,” Janich said. “I feel like I’ve lost a sense of safety.”
Aspinwall questioned how the burglars knew the women were not in their apartment, as well as why they took the items they did.
The Forest Avenue Village Apartments are some of the newest apartments in the area that are available to students. Aspinwall and Janich are the first to live in the apartment in which they now reside.
The perpetrators used their credit cards at both Walmart and the McDonald’s on the corner of Forest Avenue and 30th street.
After realizing what had happened the women contacted the police. The Des Moines Police Department (DMPD) and Public Safety immediately got involved. There have been issues in accessing the apartment security cameras, but the DMPD accessed the Walmart surveillance cameras and found a possible suspect.
Drake University and Public Safety offered support. On the evening of Nov. 5, Aspinwall and Janich asked if a public safety officer could be posted outside their door for the night and Public Safety said that they were was able to.
“Drake is here for everybody,” Janich said. “[Public safety has] been nothing but supportive… Drake does have these resources…it’s scary and makes you fearful to walk from place to place, but there are so many different things that Drake has that we should use.”
“It can happen to you,” Aspinwall said. “Be more aware…We never thought this could happen to us, but it did. I would never wish this upon anyone.”
Drake University and Public Safety have several resources for student and faculty safety. The Public Safety number is on the back of your student ID; you can reach them at (515)-271-2222. There are Public Safety light posts on and off campus in case students need an escort or help in a situation. The SafeRide bus is extending their hours on weeknights and weekends.
PHOTO: Paige Aspinwall and Chloe Janich, Drake students, sit at their dining room table in the apartment recently burglarized. PHOTO BY LÓRIEN MACENULTY