The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

Student Car Stolen, Parking Safety Examined

Painted+senior+spots+in+the+main+student+lot+after+school.
Credit: Katelyn Ervin
Painted senior spots in the main student lot after school.

It’s the end of the school day, and junior Devon Hogue returns to the parking lot after class. When he reaches his spot, however, he is met by empty air. His truck has vanished. Hogue’s first thought is that his dad took it. He learns later that the vehicle was on the highway, long gone.

“I got out of class and I walked over to my parking spot; I didn’t see my truck,” Hogue said.  

Eventually, police recovered what was left of the truck from a homeless camp in Renton, where Hogue’s AirTag could still be tracked. The vehicle was not, however, in the mint condition Hogue had last seen it.

“I have no trim on my steering column anymore. To turn it off you have to use a screwdriver. There’re also no locks,” Hogue said.

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Now, Hogue’s insurance is valuing repairs at around $5,000-$6,000. Within 24 hours, Hogue had lost his sweet ride. The situation wasn’t really even his fault- Hogue had faithfully kept his car locked, and the culprit had found another way to hack into his engine.

“They just grabbed a screwdriver and shoved it into my lock until it busted out,” Hogue said.

But if locking your car doesn’t guarantee its security, what does?

And what can students do to keep both their vehicles and their valuables safe and sound?

Thomas Henry, Puyallup High School campus security guard, offers a solution.

“We have somebody patrolling the parking lot as much as possible. In the morning, lunches, after school, Ms. Reed and I make occasional rounds throughout the day. We also have cameras in the parking lot to hopefully be able to get information if something does happen.” Henry said.

In fact, according to Henry, the first step to finding a stolen item or vehicle is reviewing these very same cameras and attempting to identify the culprit. After that, the security team works with Kevin Karuzas, police officer on campus, and the SRO (school resource office) to combine resources and use ‘engine’-uity to determine who the thief was.

As for valuables, Henry offers yet another solution.

“I would recommend not leaving any valuable items in your vehicle if you’re parking anywhere,” Henry said. “If there’s problems with theft in the parking lot, just don’t leave anything valuable in your vehicle.”

Car safety awareness is something most security guards are passionate about, and Henry is no different. Though he can’t be everywhere at once, Henry shares advice applicable to not only theft but risky driving as well.

“Go slow. There’s no reason to go more than five miles an hour. There’s no reason to accelerate quickly in the parking lot. There’s a lot of students in the morning and after school, so there’s no need for that.” Henry said. “It’s a big safety concern and we’re trying to make sure that kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

Accelerating too quickly through the parking lot is not only dangerous, but it drives staff crazy. Students strolling through the lot before and after school should make sure drivers can see them before crossing the street, even when using crosswalks.

So, whether they think they’re wheel royalty, they’ve had an exhaust-ing day or they forgot to eat brake-fast, students should keep their eyes open and their car doors shut wherever they park.

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About the Contributors
Sienna Hanson, Staff
Katelyn Ervin, News and Features Editor
Senior Katelyn Ervin, News and Features Editor, is taking this course to make your voice heard. Ervin enjoys writing feature and news stories because of the interesting elements of feature stories and the priority of keeping you informed in news stories. She can often be found with her nose in a book, crocheting or studying.

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