A break-in in plain sight does not happen very often, says Gijs van Nimwegen, spokesperson for the Rotterdam police. “This is not something we see every day.”

CCTV footage shows the men striking around 17:30 on a still-busy campus. The two can be seen walking into the Erasmus Pavilion and putting expensive devices on a rolling container. They cover those items with a cloth, then walk out with the fully loaded container and leave the campus. “These burglars were very daring in their approach”, says Van Nimwegen.

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For perpetrators to operate like this in plain sight is not common. “Your average burglar operates in such a way that they are unlikely to bump into someone. They normally work when everyone is asleep. But these men aren’t concerned about anything or anyone”, van Nimwegen explains. Perhaps the perpetrators were actually using the crowds at the site as cover: “When you walk out with your rolling container during the day, everyone naturally thinks, ‘Those people must be delivering something or working for the university.'”

Police have been unable to track down the men on their own. Therefore, on Thursday, 7 March, the camera footage was released on the television programme Bureau Rotterdam. The burglars are easily identifiable. “We are appealing to the viewers for help”, Van Nimwegen said. “All we need is one person who recognises these men.”

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Woudestein Campus is a publicly accessible site. Apart from students and staff, people from outside also walk around here. Therefore, a break-in like this is hard to prevent. “But it already works very well if you make clear agreements as a university about who can enter the premises and who cannot. And then you have to maintain that”, Van Nimwegen explains.

The Erasmus Pavilion and the university did not want to comment on the break-in.