AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – College students: Lock your doors.
That’s a warning from University at Buffalo Police.
All this after a series of burglaries at college dorms across the Western New York area this summer.
University at Buffalo police say a Buffalo man was caught on surveillance camera and is responsible for at least 7 different burglaries at residence halls since the end of July. But now, UB Police want students to know, these crimes are all preventable.
Police say it was a team effort to arrest 20-year-old Darnell Cleveland.
Police tell us he looks like a typical university student and was able to slip pass card readers and into open dorm rooms as residents were entering or leaving the buliding.
Joshua Sticht with UB Police says the burglaries happened on 3 different campus’s. He said, “The system he’d established worked for him.”
He says Cleveland broke into both of UB’s dorms on South campus as well as UB’s North campus in Amherst.
Police say Cleveland hit a dorm at SUNY Buffalo State too.
Every single burglary had one thing in common. Sticht said, “The door had been left open and there was nobody in the room.”
Cleveland was identified early on in the investigation through surveillance video. He entered an open dorm room, stole cash but also car keys, and then drove away with the car in the parking lot.
Deputy Chief Sticht said, “A few days later, Buffalo Police stopped the vehicle that was entered into the system as a stolen vehicle and arrested him at that time. They notified us, because the vehicle had been stolen from the UB campus, so we had a name right then and there from that arrest.”
The burglaries often happened in broad daylight. They are what Deputy Chief Sticht calls “crimes of opportunity.” “These were all boiled down to a system, to a person, that saw an opportunity to take advantage of a bad habit.”
Cleveland has been arraigned on criminal possession of stolen property, a felony, and is in the Erie County Holding Center. The District Attorney’s Office is investigating as well, and more charges could be coming.