COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus police are investigating another string of car break-ins at hotels near the John Glenn International Airport, with at least 14 cars being broken into sometime overnight Thursday into Friday while parked at hotels on North Cassady Avenue.

“The first thing that came to my mind was I never thought this would happen to me,” Seifullah Abdullah said.

He had driven up from Atlanta and was in town visiting family. Police said all 14 cars had windows broken, and Abdullah’s was one of them.

“We came out, we got to our car and as we got out to our car, we saw our window was busted out. They only got like $4 and some change,” he said.

Deanna Mulgrew had driven down from the Cleveland area for a volleyball tournament her daughter played in. She stayed in the same hotel as Abudllah. Her car window was also broken out.

“They didn’t even steal anything, it was just like a spree of vandalism for no reason, it was awful,” she said. “At first I was kind of freaked out and then it was stressed out about how I was going to get my child to her games on time and after she left, I got angry.”

A spokesperson for Columbus Airport Marriott said it is helping police with the investigation.

“The safety and well-being of our guests and team members is always a top priority,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re focused on industry-leading safety practices. We take this matter very seriously and are working with local law enforcement in its investigation, including by providing security camera images. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please direct questions about this matter to the Columbus Division of Police.”  

The break-ins happened in two hotel parking lots on North Cassady Avenue. It’s not the first time police and visitors have dealt with this type of crime there. In July, ten cars parked at two hotel parking lots in the same area were broken into in one night.

“If you’re coming here to Columbus, you now have this impression this is how Columbus is when you go back home, and this is a story you’re telling your family, your friends, and that’s unacceptable to us,” said Cmdr. Duane Mabry.

Police recommend drivers follow the tips below to help mitigate break-ins:

  • Always remember to lock your vehicle, close windows, and remove valuables
  • Avoid leaving anything visible in your vehicle like spare change, sunglasses, garage door openers or empty bags
  • Conceal items in your trunk before arriving since thieves will sometimes watch for people in parking lots stashing valuables in the trunk
  • Park in well-lit and busy areas

Abdullah and Mulgrew said they were still able to enjoy their weekends in Columbus but will not stay in that same area on future visits.

“I was able to get over it but it certainly put a black eye on Columbus for me,” Mulgrew said.