Student Newsroom

Juvenile arrested for Campustown apartment break-ins


Two apartment buildings on the 300 block of East Green Street on April 2 in Champaign, Illinois. These were the buildings that were affected by apartment break-ins in February and late March, according to a University of Illinois police safety notice. Photo by Elissa Eaton

The University of Illinois police sent an email to students on March 23 regarding two apartment break-ins that took place in February and late March in Campustown.

The email mentioned two apartments located on Green Street. The police said both units were unlocked when the intruders entered. 

On April 1, campus police sent an update confirming the arrest of a juvenile male who was responsible for at least five of the break-ins.

Irene Bogusz, a resident at one of the apartments, was there when the intruder entered her unit. She said he walked into her bedroom and stood staring at her with his phone light on. 

“After I initially realized it wasn't my roommate, it was terrifying,” Bogusz said. “With flight or fight, you couldn't do either, you're in your room, you're trapped. You can't really fight because he's not doing anything. 

She said it’s easy for people to enter apartment buildings without a key. 

“Honestly, anybody can get in at this point,” Bogusz said. “You just follow people in. It's up to every individual to take it up for themselves if you lock your door or not.” 

The University police called this term “tailgating,” in its safety notice. “Tailgating” is when people without building access follow residents inside, according to the notice.

U of I campus police chief Alice Cary said the email does not indicate a rise in crime. Instead, she said, its purpose was to make residents more aware about protecting their belongings. 

“With the campus safety notification, it prompts people to maybe be a little more aware of just not walking out the door and leaving their belongings unprotected by a locked door,” Cary said. “We're hoping to bring more awareness with that notice going out than anything else.” 

Cary said residents should always lock their doors and report any suspicious activity so the police can be proactive in stopping these incidents. 

“If you see something, say something, nothing's ever too minimal.” Cary said. “If we have more people calling in suspicious people or activity, it really helps us be proactive.” 

The juvenile offender was arrested at 2:43 am on Saturday, according to the safety notice email sent out to students.