Continuing a rash of car break-ins in the last few weeks, the car of another Yale student was broken into on Wednesday night near the Whitney Humanities Center on 53 Wall St.
After catching the man breaking into her car, Sara Taylor ’05 said he took her purse — which contained about $300 in cash, several credit cards and her driver’s license. She said she suspects the man was watching her before he broke into her car, because she had only been in the building a few minutes.
“I actually counted from the time I got out of my car to the time I got back in,” she said. “After everything was over, it had only been four minutes — He had to have been there, and he had to have been watching me. That was the scary part.”
Taylor said the incident took place around midnight, after she parked her car adjacent to the door at 53 Wall St. to retrieve a course packet she had forgotten in the building the day before.
New Haven Police spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester said police currently have no suspects in the robbery.
Theater Studies Director of Undergraduate Studies Toni Dorfman said she alerted students and faculty through e-mail to take extra precautions when exiting the Whitney Humanities Center at late hours of the night.
“I sent out a notice of the incident to the Film Studies Program, Directed Studies and the Whitney Humanities Center so they would then disseminate the information to faculty and students on campus,” she said.
Dorfman said she and other professors, including Directed Studies Director of Undergraduate Studies Jane Levin, are encouraging students to take precautions to prevent crime.
“We’re asking students to walk in pairs or in groups to and from 53 Wall at night, and Professor Levin thought it might be a good idea to not walk on Wall [Street] at all but to walk on Grove [Street],” she said.
Dorfman said students taking classes in the Theater Studies Department may rehearse for theater productions at the Whitney Humanities Center through late hours of the night.
“They’re often there until midnight because the Whitney Theater space has two uses,” she said. “One of them is studio space for Theater Studies classes, and the other is rehearsal and performance space for senior-project productions.”
Taylor said she notified the New Haven police about the incident and plans to notify the Yale Police Department. She said she will encourage Yale Police to increase security surveillance of the area.
Yale Police Lt. Michael Patten said he has noticed an increase in the number of arrests for car break-ins in the downtown area on or near campus.
“There’s been a little bit of an increase in the number of cars broken into in the downtown area in the last couple of weeks,” he said.
Patton said Taylor had not filed a crime report with the University Police as of Friday.
Winchester said the number of car break-ins in New Haven appears consistent over the last couple of weeks, though certain areas of the city seem to have a higher number of break-ins.
“The number of car break-ins in the downtown district has been consistent over the last couple of weeks,” Winchester said in an e-mail. “The area south of Chapel Street seems to be a common area for car break-ins.”