November 11, 2004

String of vehicle burglaries Police arrest four thanks to alert students

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety arrested four people on Wednesday, Nov. 10, in connection with several vehicle burglaries on and near campus.

Police credit two SIUC students with alerting officers to suspicious activity in overnight parking lot 59, west of the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building, at 2:19 a.m.

The arrests and subsequent investigation resulted in the recovery of an array of car stereos, amplifiers, equalizers, radar detectors and speakers, as well as burglary tools.

"I am very pleased and proud of the effort put forth by all the DPS personnel who worked on the initial arrest through the follow-up," said Public Safety Director Todd D. Sigler. "We are appreciative of the information received from the students. These students are fantastic to be willing to step forward and take an active role in alerting us to what they saw."

The investigation continues.

In addition to charges stemming from Wednesday's early morning arrests, SIUC investigators expect two of the suspects to face additional charges in connection with vehicle break-ins late last month. Five vehicles were burglarized in overnight parking lot 45 south of the Student Recreation Center on Oct. 25, and four vehicles were burglarized between Oct. 24 and 26 in a Carbondale city parking lot at 1000 S. Washington St.

Facing charges are:

  • Deanse P. Means, 18, of Chicago.
  • Nicholas A. Jones, 19, of Chicago.
  • Dejhan V. Means, 20, of Chicago.
  • Derrick R. Thornton, 19, of Chicago.

Deanse Means and Dehjan Means are brothers and SIUC students, according to police. Jones also is an SIUC student.

Deanse Means, Jones and Thornton each face seven counts of burglary in connection with the break-in of seven vehicles in the parking lot near the law school. Means remains in the Jackson County Jail in Murphysboro in lieu of $500 bail. Preliminary hearings for the three are set for Nov. 22 in circuit court in Jackson County.

Dejhan Means is under arrest on suspicion of burglary of motor vehicle parts and accessories and possession of burglary tools.

Police recovered stolen items from two vehicles, the parking lot burglarized Wednesday morning, and from a residence hall room.

SIUC police Sgt. Larry Eaton said the two students alerted an SIUC officer to possible vehicle burglaries in progress near the law school. Officers responded quickly, arresting Deanse Means, Jones and Thornton in the parking lot. Police arrested Dejhan Means later Wednesday.

Eaton and SIUC police detective Chuck Leonard credited the work of patrol officers and investigators in the case.

"It's really a cooperative team effort. It really is. That is what makes everybody feel good about it," said Eaton.

Promoting campus safety is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Anyone who believes their property may have been recovered from these burglaries should contact the Department of Public Safety at 618/453-2381.

(CAPTION: Recovered items - - Police recovered an array of stereos, amplifiers, equalizers, radar detectors and speakers after arresting four suspects in connection with seven vehicle burglaries. The investigation continues.)

Photo by Jeff Garner