Nursing students' futures in jeopardy after car prowl

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The educational future of two University of Utah nursing students may be in jeopardy because of a crime police said will affect a lot more people in the coming months.

The two friends made a common mistake when they parked at the Gateway Mall for lunch. This time, someone may have been watching them.

"As a student, that is my life right now," said Kat Lofley.

Her dream of becoming a nurse is now out of her hands. Years of work, class projects, even immunization records--which are all part of her nursing portfolio--are gone.

"It's how we're gonna get jobs when we're nurses. It's our resume. It's all of our accomplishments," Lofley said.

On Tuesday, Lofley and her friend, who are both nursing students at the University of Utah, finished exams and went to the Gateway Mall for a celebratory lunch. Lofley's friend parked her car in one of the underground parking garages.

When the two came back, their backpacks--which were left on the passenger side floor and in the backseat--were gone. To add insult to injury, the thief left some trash on top of the car.

"After they had set their cup and candy bar wrapper down, they used some sort of tool to jimmy the door open, and there was only a little scuff mark and some dirt from where they had done that," Lofley said.

Police said thieves had ways to break into cars, quickly and without drawing attention to themselves; and security measures didn't often deter them.

"Some of the offenders that we've talked to have let us know that they're not really intimidated by anybody other than law enforcement actually being physically present," said Salt Lake City police Sgt. Steve Wooldridge.

Wooldridge said places where lots of cars are parked are popular targets for thieves. He also told us the number of car prowls at the Gateway Mall remains steady, but the crime itself will go up in the next month.

"This is kind of the lull between summer and the holiday season," Wooldridge explained.

Lofley said she knows she shouldn't have left her stuff in the car, but she's hoping it will turn up.

"They have our contact information in them 'cause they have our resumes in them, and I would just be happy to get it back," Lofley said.

Lofley's laptop and iPod were also in her backpack. She gave police the serial numbers, which were entered into a statewide database for stolen items.

KSL News contacted Gateway management to find out what security measures are in place there, but the spokesperson did not return our call.


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