TOLEDO (WTVG) - It was a tough lesson to learn for two University of Toledo students.
University Hall Clock Tower front-view during Spring. CD-959
"It was hard to come to grips with," sophomore Hunter Roth said.
"That night really made me rethink things," added junior Chase Mercer.
Late last week both Roth and Mercer were working out at the Student Recreation Center on separate days. During that time police say both men placed their items, including their keys, in unlocked lockers. When both came back they noticed something was wrong.
"My locker had been opened, and my bag and everything had been moved," Roth said.
"I went back to my locker — turns out my keys were missing," added Mercer.
Both students say they rushed to the parking lot, but quickly came to the same conclusion.
"I went out to the parking lot and couldn't find the car, didn't have the keys," Roth said.
"It was just the worst feeling ever that my car was just gone," added Mercer.
Roth and Mercer eventually notified police and an investigation was opened. Reports show cameras spotted three men enter the locker room on one occasion without signing in after telling staff they "forgot something" inside.
After going a day each without a ride both men say officers got in touch with them to let them know they found their cars. Mercer's 2012 Honda Accord was intact, left in the Bowsher High School parking lot with some unusual items inside.
"[Officers] found a couple guns in the car, I guess, which was used in some crime I don't really know a whole lot of information about," Mercer said.
Meanwhile, Roth wasn't as lucky as police found his 2012 Ford Focus banged up on the side of the road.
"Both the tires on the left side were completely flat and there was just scratches literally everywhere," Roth said.
Now with keys to both cars back in hand, the UT students say they've learned their lesson, and they hope others can learn something, too.
"Definitely use a lock, for sure," Roth said. "It's worth it."
UT police are also sharing that same advice as they urge people to always secure their valuables. An alert sent out to students and staff states that locks can even be purchased, or checked out for free with a Rocket Card, at the Rec Center.