A total 14 cars between Hoff Hall and observatory parking lots were vandalized and broken into on Sept. 5 leaving students angry.
“It was keyed, the glass was broken and there was a swastika symbol on the hood,” said Nathan Lumsden, a sophomore criminal justice major talking about his 2006 black Chevy Silverado.
"It was keyed, the glass was broken and there was a swastika symbol on the hood."
Eleven vehicles in the observatory lot and three vehicles in the Hoff lot were targeted. Not every car that was broken into had items stolen, according to Director of Public Safety Keith Molinari.
“There was a hunting knife left on my seat, there were open boxes of condoms and my glove compartment was rummaged through, but nothing was taken,” said freshman Jackie Lisack.
Molinari isn’t ruling out the possibility that the vandal is a student, but says the incident is uncharacteristic of the Castleton student body.
“While I don’t believe our students are complete angels and saints, I believe that they all care about Castleton University and that they have a true vested interest here,” Molinari said.
Public Safety officers were reported as being “out and about” on patrol at the time of the incident according to Molinari. Both Hoff and observatory lots have lights, but Molinari and Lumsden agree that measures need to be taken to ensure vehicles safety.
“I had someone try to break into my truck last year and broke the rain guard off of it so this isn’t the first time this has happened,” Lumsden said.
Motion lights and other security measures have been considered, Molinari said.
“I would love to see cameras in those lots, but we’re weighing cost benefit,” Molinari said.
The 14 incidents double the number of seven similar incidents in all of 2013, the most recent stats.
Frustration is the main feeling among students.
“You pay money to go to a school so you feel like you should be able to park your car and not have to worry about it,” said Lumsden.
“There was a knife in my car and I have yet to hear anything about that,” said Lisack
No arrests are eminent but Castleton police don’t think the vandal is a Castleton student.
“Any suspects that we may have or think are linked are not students,” said Castleton Police Chief Peter Mantello.
Molinari, Lumsden and Mantello all agree that this behavior does not reflect the behavior that is seen day to day on campus.
“I think it does detract students from Castleton, but in the grand scheme of things, at Castleton, there is so much great here to come for,” said Molinari.