Crime Report: Weekend Car Break-ins, Student Harassed Over COVID-19 Study – The Emory Wheel


Four cars broken into over the weekend, one stolen

The Emory Police Department (EPD) saw four car break-ins over the weekend. EPD saw about 6 car break-ins per month in 2019, according to EPD Records Manager Ed Shoemaker.

On Feb. 21 at 4:30 a.m., an Emory Healthcare employee working a night shift reported a car break-in on the third level of the Gambrell parking deck behind Emory Law School. The culprit stole several credit cards from the car.

Later that morning, a second break-in occurred in the same parking deck where a 2016 Dodge Challenger was reported stolen. EPD believes the crime was committed by the same person who stole credit cards from the parking lot, Shoemaker said.

The car owner provided EPD with information to register the car in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

“If any other law enforcement agency comes into contact with that car, whether in an accident, checked at a parking lot or traffic stop, it’ll be found,” Shoemaker said. 

The NCIC database significantly increases the recovery chance of stolen property, Shoemaker added. Per stolen property data from the FBI, 56.1% of locally stolen motor vehicles are recovered.

On Feb. 21 at 10:30 a.m., a parking deck employee reported two additional cars were broken into overnight. 

One of the cars belonged to an international student who is currently overseas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. It is unknown if anything was stolen from the car. Shoemaker said the student is having a friend pick up the car to repair the smashed window.

The other car’s back window was broken into and the culprit stole a backpack, Apple earbuds and clothes. The stolen property is estimated to be worth $350.

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Bikes stolen from storage

On Feb. 21, two locked bikes were reported stolen from a restricted-access bike storage at Emory Point. The last time the bikes were seen was on Feb. 16. The bikes were owned by the same person. Both bikes were secured with a combination lock and plastic-coated cable.

One bike is a fairly new bike valued at $3,000. The owner provided EPD with the bike serial number so the bike could be entered in the NCIC. The owner did not have a serial number for the other bike, valued at $500.

Shoemaker said writing down a valuable good’s serial number is important in case it is lost, because the number could assist law enforcement in recovering the item. He added that documenting stolen possessions in the NCIC is useful in recovering stolen property because “people will often pawn them and pawn shops are obligated by law to check serial numbers to make sure the property wasn’t reported stolen.” 

Graduate student harassed over COVID-19 research

On Feb. 22 at 8:30 a.m., a graduate student at the Rollins School of Public Health reported harassing messages from a non-University individual.

The student was recently listed as an author on a paper about the efficacy of a controversial medicine proven to be ineffective against COVID-19. 

Since the paper was published, the student has received repeated communications from an individual questioning the legitimacy of the paper’s findings. The student is concerned that their reputation among their academic advisors and dean might be tarnished because of an outsider vehemently questioning their scholarly work.

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This qualifies as a criminal report because “the law says repeated electronic communications intended to harass, intimidate or threaten somebody constitutes the crime of harassing communications,” Shoemaker explained.

The harasser has also contacted the dean to question the paper’s legitimacy and requested to speak with the student.



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