On the 26 and 28 November through the “Lost & Found in St Andrews” Facebook page, two women reported break-ins to their houses in the early morning, both warning that the perpetrator was after cash or small valuables.
Fourth-year geology student Sarah Rowan and her flatmate, Becky Casement, who live in the Auld Burn area, were broken into on the morning of 28 November. However, the burglar did not steal anything from their home.
This may be due to the fact that Ms. Rowan woke up during the incident and caught the perpetrator looking around her room.
Ms. Casement said in her Facebook post, “The door they used was left wide open when they left, but nothing was taken this time because we didn’t have any cash in the house and my flatmate woke up when they came into her room with a phone torch on. We think they were about 5’7/5’8 and unable to take anything bulky because all tech was left untouched.”
Ms. Casement cautioned others to lock their doors, a common theme among the burglaries.
“Please lock your doors: we don’t think we’ve been targeted, just stupid for not checking all of our locks. Stay safe everyone.”
On Friday 1 December, a 27-year-old man was charged with housebreakings, thefts, and road traffic offences. Though it is not immediately clear which instances the perpetrator is linked to, two particular break-ins were reported to the St Andrews community via Facebook.
Ms. Rowan revealed details of her situation to The Saint, including what she saw of the burglar.
“I woke up straight away because I’m a really light sleeper. [I] initially thought that it was one of my flatmates coming in but they left as soon as I woke up. They still walked around the house until I came out of my room and looked around and saw our back door was wide open.”
Ms. Rowan did not see the man in her house as he shined his phone flashlight in her eyes, nor is she aware if it is the same man who has been arrested.
In the future, she says that she will make sure their back door is locked and will practise other personal safety measures, including taking her laptop with her when she leaves the library.
However, Jakie Barclay, who lives near Albany Park, had her house broken into in the early morning of Friday 26 November and had nearly £300 in cash stolen.
Ms. Barclay said on the same Facebook page as Ms. Casement, “Someone broke into our house near Albany Park early hours of Friday morning while we were asleep upstairs. [The burglar] went through all of our personal stuff and managed to steal cash.”
It is unclear whether these attacks are linked, but both occurred early in the morning in the St Andrews area, and both victims saw their personal belongings rummaged through and believe the motive was to steal cash.
On 29 November, one day after the burglary of Ms. Rowan and Ms. Casement’s home, the Fife Police Division warned residents to “keep their doors locked overnight.”
A statement read, “Officers in St Andrews are warning residents to make sure their homes are properly secured after four sneak-in type thefts have been reported in the past three days.
“In each case the houses were unlocked overnight with the person responsible trying the doors to gain access.”
The Fife Police Division also advised residents to leave a light on when they are out in the early evening and to call 101 for suspicious activity or 999 for an ongoing crime.
On 1 December, a 27-year-old man was “arrested and charged in connection with 14 offences including housebreaking and theft.”
The police statement reveals that the incidents occurred early on Sunday 5 November in the Tayport area and in St Andrews between 5am and 6am on Tuesday 28 November.
The 27-year-old was scheduled to appear at Dundee Sheriff Court on Friday 1 December.
In a statement on 1 December, Scott Cunningham, Detective Chief Inspector of Fife Crime Management, advised citizens to practise personal safety of their homes and belongings.
“Officers across Fife are tackling acquisitive crime under Operation Principle and I would appeal to homeowners to ensure their properties are safe and secure with valuables kept away from sight, especially during the hours of darkness.”
He continued, “Many housebreakings are committed by opportunistic criminals and we will continue to deal robustly with these offenders.”