Suspect in Several CSU Car Burglaries Arrested

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University police Thursday arrested a suspect in a string of thefts from cars that were broken into on main campus in late 2009.

Kashif Leonard, 21, of Columbus faces felony charges in connection with several of the 13 car break-ins and thefts during November and December.

“We’ve got him linked to six of these so far,” University Police Chief Rus Drew said.

GPS units were taken in each of the main campus car burglaries, as well as purses and backpacks. Columbus Police worked with CSU police to trace one of the GPS units that had been sold at a local pawn shop, leading to the arrest. In Georgia, a charge of felony entering auto can be punished by one to five years in jail.

Columbus Police may be able to link Leonard to other car break-ins, and Drew said CSU police will likely bring other charges related to the use of credit cards taken in the thefts.

Leonard, who is not a CSU student, was arrested in mid-June after a standoff with Columbus Police at his Wesley Heights home. After what police described as a domestic dispute, Leonard’s wife was able to leave the home. Leonard then locked himself inside with a gun. Two shots were fired, but no one was injured. After several hours, Leonard surrendered and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

CSU’s recent main campus car break-ins occurred in several different open parking lots at different times between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., with vehicles entered after a side window was shattered. “It’s uncommon to have these occur on main campus,” Drew said.

Students start spring classes at CSU Monday. Drew reminded them to continue to follow common-sense prevention advice to prevent thefts from vehicles:

  • Park in well-lighted areas.

  • Secure valuables in the trunk or remove them from your car.

  • Lock your car and roll up windows so the trunk can't be entered from the inside.

  • Carpool if you can, or have a friend, parent or relative drop you off on campus.

  • Report all suspicious persons or activity to campus police at 706-568-2022.