PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (KTRK) -- Several on-campus housing apartments at Prairie View A&M University were burglarized and ransacked over winter break, impacting dozens of students.
The university said the break-ins happened some time around Dec. 10 when students left for break. Taunicia Cobbin, a sophomore, said she does not return until Sunday.
"I was excited to go back and chill in my room. Hang out with my friends and wait until school starts. Now, I'm thinking about the hours of cleaning, picking up, and seeing what was taken," Cobbin said from her home in North Carolina.
Cobbin saw the mess in her apartment in a video her friend sent.
At least 15 apartments at University Village, the on-campus housing, were broken into. Doors were broken open, rooms were ransacked, and shoes and clothes were stolen.
Sophomore Taylor Smith, of Katy, estimates her loss at $5,000.
"My door, the lock was totally torn apart. Everything underneath my bed was pulled out. All my shoe boxes. Shoes missing. Clothes missing. My room was totally destroyed," Smith said.
The students are frustrated and said they expected better, not only when it comes to security, but also in the manner they found out.
"I think the university needs to do a better job to prevent this from happening," said Smith.
"We didn't get any information on this or hear anything until I got on Twitter and posted it," Cobbins' mother, Nina Stewart, said.
In a statement, the university said, in part, all students were "promptly notified" and "there is a security guard at the front of the gate 24/7," checking IDs.
During ABC13's interview with Smith, there was no guard at the front gate. After the university was asked about security, a guard was posted.
Cobbin's mother said she still has security concerns and feels uneasy about sending her daughter back unless she gets a new apartment.
"Doors are off the hinges. You can see wood broken, and I don't want my child staying at some place like that. What if they come back again? We don't know who did this and why they did it," Stewart told ABC13.
Prairie View A & M University released the following statement:
"As of January 6, Prairie View A&M University has 15 reported burglaries of student housing residences. The reported burglaries occurred during the period of our student winter break, dating from December 10 through present day. All students with on-campus residences have been promptly notified in accordance with the external partner that is responsible for providing and managing all student housing. All of the reported crimes are currently under investigation with the University Police Department."
A spokesperson also added the following:
"There is a security guard at the front of the gate 24/7. In order to get in to the complex, one must be listed as a resident and provide a student ID. In addition, our university police department is increasing the number of officers on the premises, specific to on-campus housing locations and their immediate surroundings, effective immediately."
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