December 19, 2012

OUR VIEW: Don’t make it easy on thieves

Cass County sheriff’s investigators are looking for help in catching those responsible for a recent rash of car burglaries.

Detective Tom Heflin says at least 30 vehicles had been hit by burglars in the past three weeks. All of them were unlocked. Most of the thefts have been reported in the southern part of the county.

The thefts are occurring between 2 and 6 a.m. And most of the vehicles were parked in the driveway in front of the owner’s home.

The most common items stolen have been electronics, including GPS systems, cell phones and computers, but investigators encourage folks not to leave anything of value in their vehicles overnight.

They also encourage all of us to lock our doors.

Some might point out that locking the doors won’t dissuade a determined thief. If the doors are locked, the thieves can certainly break a window, the critics say.

They’re right, of course, but that still doesn’t mean we should make it easy. A thief sneaking through a neighborhood in the middle of the night might pass by a vehicle with a locked door.

Here are some other tips:

Park in well-lighted areas. Avoid having your car concealed by larger vehicles, fences or foliage; thieves like to work in private.

Activate your vehicle’s alarm, and if you don’t have one, consider having one installed.

Hide your valuables. Thieves often act on impulse, so keep your stuff out of sight – either with you or in a locked trunk.

If you have a vehicle with an open cargo area, get a retractable cover to keep shopping bags or other belongings hidden.

Stow your stuff before you arrive. Experienced thieves often stake out parking lots to watch for people putting items in the trunk. Help prevent break-ins by putting valuables such as laptops, messenger bags and electronic devices, into the trunk before you get to the parking lot.

Stash the evidence, too. When you put your stuff in the trunk, don’t forget such telltale evidence as power plugs, MP3 adapters and navigation system windshield suction-cup mounts. Thieves know what they’re looking for, so hide the accessories, too.

Finally, keep your eyes open. If you see a theft in progress, call 9-1-1. If you have a tip about the recent rash of thefts, call the sheriff’s department at 574-753-7800.

Investigators want to catch these thieves, and they need your help.

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