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VIDEO: UB students’ Heights apartment burglarized

Latest break-in a part of burglary increase in Heights

YouTube: UB student Heights apartment burglary caught on camera

Jane Truesdell and her roommates have seen several of their neighbors' houses burglarized, some multiple times, over the past few months.

That led the roommates and UB students to install a motion-capturing webcam in their Winspear Avenue apartment last week.

And just days later, that webcam would capture two burglars breaking into their house through the kitchen window.

Buffalo Police is investigating the burglary in Truesdell’s apartment early Thursday morning - just one of many burglaries that have occurred in the University Heights neighborhood over the past month.

The video, captured through the home security app Canary and provided to The Spectrum, shows two males entering the apartment, one through the kitchen window, before fleeing with Trusedell’s backpack after one of her roommates set off the app’s alarm system.

UB sent out an alert about the robbery Thursday afternoon, stating that Buffalo Police has reported an increase in burglaries in the neighborhood. Truesdell said police told her there have been 10 burglaries in the area in less than a month.

“People never think it's gonna happen and then it does,” Truesdell said.

Four of the six tenants were home Thursday morning around 4:30 a.m. when one male entered the apartment through the kitchen window and let in another male through the side door. Truesdell’s roommate received a notification that there was a movement in the kitchen, so she opened the live video stream through the app and saw the two suspects walking around the first floor of the house.

The roommate then set off an alarm and called police through the app, which caused the two suspects to run out of the house with Truesdell’s backpack. The suspects left the backpack outside in the yard as they fled and Truesdell’s laptop charger, which was inside the backpack, was later recovered on nearby Highgate Avenue.

Truesdell said police told her the video surveillance of the suspects could go a long way in finding them. She also credits the Canary app with preventing the situation from becoming more dangerous, saying the suspects may have entered their rooms if not for the alarm.

Truesdell had been in the kitchen to get water just five minutes prior to the break-in.

“What if I had walked down to get water and they were there?” she said.

Trusdell urges other students living in the Heights to be mindful of the recent burglaries and take extra precautions, whether they are living in their apartments during winter break or not. The Heights is known for high crime rates like robberies and burglaries and apartments are sometimes more susceptible to break-ins during the winter months, as many students go home during the break.

“The cops said, ‘They know kids in the Heights aren’t home,’” Truesdell said.

Despite the kitchen light being on, Truesdell thinks the burglars may have thought no one was home because none of the roommates’ cars were in the driveway.

The roommates have already resigned a lease for the house, although Truesell is rethinking living in the Heights and said her roommate, who was robbed while walking home last semester, is thinking of leaving UB altogether.

“There’s a 99 percent chance I’m not living on Winspear next year because this is insane,” she said.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is encouraged to call Buffalo Police E-District at 716-851-4416.

Tom Dinki is the editor in chief and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @tomdinki.

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