Vandals break into student car parked on Coldwater Canyon

Chronicle Staff

By Maddy Baxter


Wade Clement’s ’12 2001 Honda Odyssey was broken into on Coldwater Canyon Avenue on March 17. After school, Clement walked outside to his car and found the passenger side window smashed.

The thief somehow unlocked the door and used a tool to jam open the dashboard. Clement had an aftermarket Pioneer GPS built into his dashboard and in plain sight.

The thief ripped the GPS unit out but left most of the other wires intact. Another student’s Pioneer GPS, whose silver Infiniti G35 was broken into, was also stolen, along with a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. He or she also looked through the glove compartment and took Clement’s iPod.

The car was broken into around 1:45 p.m., but the police could find no fingerprints or trace of the thief on the car, so there are no suspects, according to the police. The car was locked and the alarm was on, but the thief managed to smash the window in such a way that the alarm was not triggered.

“I was really upset that this could happen so close to Harvard-Westlake, especially because my car was the first down on Coldwater,” Clement said.

Burglaries are on the rise in the San Fernando Valley, and the neighborhood surrounding Harvard-Westlake is not immune, Head of Security Jim Crawford said.

“Our crew does a pretty good job keeping them off our campus, but these bandits have been successful on Coldwater and surrounding areas,” Crawford said.

“I have stressed at the beginning and throughout the school year, that our students not leave thing out in plain view in their vehicles,” Crawford said.

School security has increased patrols on the surrounding streets and sidewalks, Crawford said.

Crawford advised that students “secure their belongings” in their trunk or under the seat of their vehicles because culprits usually do not break into vehicles unless they see something that they want.

According to FBI crime statistics, a car is stolen every 23 seconds. Every year, about 30,000 vehicles are stolen in the city of Los Angeles alone, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Although 89 percent of all stolen vehicles are recovered, fifty percent come back damaged.

For the most part, cars are broken into in areas where large groups of cars are parked for long periods of time, such as at shopping centers, colleges, sporting events, movie complexes, and large apartment buildings, according to the LAPD.

The time of day usually has no effect on the likelihood of a car being broken into.