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Car break-ins reported in Amherst near UB

Authorities are reporting a rash of car break-ins in areas around the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst.

UB noticed the problem on campus at the end of last year and alerted the campus community.

"They [thieves] hit us at the end of December before break, and really hard when school returned," said UB Police Chief Gerald Schoenle. "Between the end of December and January, we had 24."

The thieves rummaged through unlocked cars or broke a window to gain access or used a device to remove the vehicle lock, Schoenle said.

"In most of the cases they took whatever was left on the seat of the car," Schoenle said. "It ranged from backpacks to GPS devices to iPods."

While no arrests have been made, Schoenle believes UB has curbed the problem on campus by stepping up patrols.

"It's pretty much stopped," Schoenle said.

Although, it may have just forced thieves off campus, as Amherst police report a higher-than-usual number of car break-ins so far this year, too.

There have been 36 vehicle break-ins, or attempted car break-ins, throughout the town since the start of the year, said Detective Sgt. John Piracci with the Amherst Police Department.

The majority of those have been over the past four weeks in areas around the campus, said Piracci, particularly in retail parking lots along Maple Road, the Boulevard Mall and the apartment complexes along Chestnut Ridge Road.

e-mail: jrey@buffnews.com

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