WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Over the past few days a string of vehicle thefts on the Westfield State Campus is now causing concern.

The school sent out a campus safety alert to all students that on Wednesday a vehicle was taken from the south lot and recovered in a neighboring town.

The individuals involved in this incident smashed a side window to enter the vehicle and used a specialized tool to start the engine. The thieves are now arrested, but last week campus security found that several unlocked vehicles had been entered in that same lot. Now, Friday had reports of individuals attempting to break into vehicles, and we’re learning that this all may be stemming from a nationwide trend.

Campus Police have been monitoring the trend as there has been an increase in stolen vehicles across the U.S. particularly in Kias and Hyundais.

The Executive Director of Communications for Westfield State University, Leslie Rice told 22News, “We’re asking our students to be sure to lock their cars and to be sure to not stow any valuable anyplace where they can be seen, and take extra caution to not have anything in their cars.”

22News spoke to a few students on campus, and they said they are now being really cognizant of these alerts.

“Two RA’s knocked on our door and said, ‘Are you Cameron Hoekstra?”, and they said that your car got broken into and it’s towed somewhere,” said Westfield State University Freshman, Cameron Hoekstra.

22News also spoke to Cameron’s Mother, Lisa Hoekstra, who was visiting the campus for ‘Parent’s Weekend’ and described the state of the car once police recovered the vehicle, “The whole bottom underneath the steering column was ripped out, the wires were hanging and somehow [they] started it that way.”

If you see any suspicious activity or vehicles in the Westfield State parking lot you are asked to call campus police at 413-572-5262.

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