The Victim: Gerardo Perez
The Crime: Car burglary

Date: Thursday, Dec. 9
Time: Between 12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.
Location: 900 block of Hollywood

Gerardo Perez is a young man trying to create a nice future for himself. The recent high school graduate is very interested in computers and has been attending the University of Texas at Dallas in hopes of earning a computer science degree. Recently, after a late night of studies, Perez became a victim of a crime — accompanied by an expensive repair bill that definitely would be costly for a young student.

“I don’t know exactly what time it happened,” Perez says. “I had gotten home from school about 12:30 a.m. and went to bed. My aunt wakes up at 4 a.m. because she works at the Neiman Marcus warehouse in Las Colinas. She woke my uncle and I up and told me my car had been broken into.”

Perez raced outside into the darkness. The door was open, and the window had been smashed. Glass covered the vehicle, and the stereo had been ripped out. The thief also destroyed the dash in the process of stealing the stereo.

The theft compounded an already bad day for Perez.

“I was disappointed because I had already been getting sick and had come down with a fever,” he says.

Perez had the window repaired the next day for $150, but still has not completely repaired the dash, which was expected to cost several hundred dollars. The break-in was not the first he or his neighborhood had experienced this year.

“We think it might be the same guy because other cars parked along the street have also been broken into,” Perez says. “Now they’ve gotten me twice.”

Dallas Police Deputy Chief Vernon Hale of the Southwest Patrol Division says the basic idea to avoid these types of crime is to hide valuable belongings to reduce the chances of becoming a target.

“Burglary of a motor vehicle is typically a crime of opportunity, so thieves do not want to break into a car to see if they can find something good,” he says. “They break into cars where they see a potential gain such as a laptop bag, phones, etc. Of course, parking in residential garage will reduce your chances further because there is no access to your vehicle.”

Other ways to prevent thefts, Hale says, are vehicle alarms and detachable stereo faces.