Carbondale’s Third Street Center reports burglaries, thefts
October 13, 2012
CARBONDALE – Following a spate of break-ins, thefts and incidents of vandalism at the Third Street Center arts and nonprofit facility over the summer, Executive Director Jody Ensign is hoping the perpetrators have given up or been scared off by police.
Police Chief Gene Schilling said his officers are looking into the incidents, but have no suspects at this point.
“Part of the problem,” said Schilling half humorously, “is that they leave their doors open a lot.”
He acknowledged that it is a serious matter but said he is not certain why it is happening, who is behind it or where they are coming from. His records show six incidents occurred from April 12 through Sept. 17.
“Since April,” Ensign said on Friday, “we’ve had heavy vandalism and break-ins,” starting when a thief or thieves broke through the skylight over the Third Street Cafe, to steal food and petty cash.
One day, Ensign said, an employee at the cafe saw people loitering near the Round Room, a circular structure containing offices for several nonprofit organizations.
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The employee “managed to scare them off,” Ensign reported.
But there have been several other break-ins at the cafe, once when an employee left the outer door open.
Another burglary involved the center’s administrative office, Ensign said, which is where she works.
“I could tell they went through my desk, because they stole all my cheeses,” she said indignantly.
Among the items stolen was a television set taken from the Calaway Room, which Schilling said indicates that more than one person was involved because of the size of the set.
In September, Ensign said, she posted notices around the neighborhood alerting homeowners to the rash of break-ins and asking that they “keep an eye out and, if they see someone within 20 feet of the center, to call police.”
The center also recently hired a security guard who, on his first night on duty, spotted a couple of teenagers hanging around the Round Room, Ensign said.
When they left, according to Schilling, they jumped over a fence and went into a nearby house.
Police were called, and the teenagers were questioned but not arrested.
“We didn’t get anything out of that,” said Schilling.
Dismayed by the repeated incidents, Ensign said, “This is a town facility, and it’s trespassing for anyone to be within 20 feet of the building. And we will prosecute.”
More troubling, she said, is the apparent disregard the vandals have for what the Third Street Center represents.
“The businesses here are all nonprofits, trying to help the community,” she said. “It’s a community asset, and they [the burglars] are taking away from the community when they do this.”