GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two days after criminals broke into ten student vehicles in an Aquinas College parking lot, a gang of thieves struck less than a mile east of the first location, breaking into three vehicles.

But this time, Campus Safety was watching on surveillance cameras, according to a message the school sent students Tuesday.

“Today at 4 a.m., two vehicles entered the Browne Lot, and five suspects began breaking into vehicles,” administrators wrote in a Tuesday notice to students. “Campus Safety saw the incident unfold on security cameras and called 911. Officers from the Kent County Sheriff’s office responded quickly and chased one of the suspect vehicles until the pursuit turned dangerous and was called off.”

Tuesday’s attempted break-in blitz occurred at the school’s Browne Center parking lot at 2001 Robinson Road SE.

That’s the same lot from which a vehicle was stolen approximately one month ago, Campus Safety told News 8. In that case, the car was unlocked with keys inside, according to Aquinas.

The Browne Center lot, where Tuesday’s break-ins occurred, is located 0.3 miles east of the lot targeted over the weekend.

Campus Safety reported it was approximately 6 a.m. Sunday when a surveillance camera captured three carloads of thieves breaking into ten vehicles parked at the school’s Performing Arts Center at 1703 Robinson Road SE.

  • A car that was broken into at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. (Oct. 30, 2023)
  • A car that was broken into at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. (Oct. 30, 2023)
  • A car that was broken into at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. (Oct. 30, 2023)
  • A car that was broken into at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. (Oct. 30, 2023)

After the Tuesday incident, Aquinas offered students different parking options to reduce risk and enhance security.

“In order to consolidate overnight parking locations, beginning immediately resident vehicles with a valid parking permit may park in the Woodward Lot (27) and the Donnelly Event Lot (28) until further notice,” administrators wrote. “Campus Safety recommends that vehicles avoid parking in the Browne Lot (23) and the Plymouth Lot (14) overnight for the time being.”

The school also encouraged students impacted by the crimes to seek assistance if needed.

“These criminals have affected our sense of security,” Aquinas wrote in its message to students. “Our sympathies go out to those individuals who were directly and indirectly impacted. This type of crime can affect your view of personal safety. If you would like to talk to someone, the Counseling, Health & Wellness department is available to you.”

Aquinas College is working with the Grand Rapids Police Department to track down the thieves. 

“The college is also reviewing ways to prevent this type of crime from happening in the future,” the message concluded. “Please do your part to minimize the risk of vehicle break-ins: lock your vehicle and remove your valuables.”