Police warn football fans to lock up valuables before heading into Rice-Eccles Stadium

Posted at 5:52 PM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-11 19:52:19-04

SALT LAKE CITY – If you’re heading to the Utah versus Utah State game Friday night at Rice Eccles Stadium, police have a warning for you: Lock up your valuables in your car.

More than 45,000  fans filed into Rice-Eccles Stadium for Utah’s season opener last Thursday, leaving a window of opportunity for thieves.

“There was an uptick in vehicle burglaries, car prowls if you will,” said Deputy Chief Fred Ross with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Salt Lake Police and the University of Utah Campus Police say thieves broke into several vehicles and stole electronics, cell phones, iPods and guns.

“People leaving their belongings and valuables in their cars," Ross said. "Getting excited about the Utah-Michigan game and just leaving them there and going to the game."

Police say most of the burglaries took place in cars parked off campus on Sunnyside Avenue and in neighborhoods north of campus.

Dale Brophy, University of Utah Campus Police Chief, warns people that thieves, “Just walk through looking at any car that has something valuable in it that's easy to break into if they have windows.”

With another sold-out crowd expected at Friday's game, police are posting signs warning people to lock their cars.

“My suggestion to people is to leave your belongings at home if you don't need them. If you do need them, take them with you into the game or lock them up in your trunk,” Brophy said.

So far, none of the stolen items have been recovered, and police haven’t made any arrests. In the meantime, they’re counting on fans to play it smart.

“Our goal up here for the rest of the season up here at the University is to have a shutout as far as car prowls,” Ross said.

Both Salt Lake City Police and University of Utah Campus Police are ramping up security. They have 81 law enforcement officers and 170 security officers patrolling the stadium throughout the season.