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Insight from WFPD: Thefts from vehicles happening in several neighborhoods

Thieves are targeting the neighborhoods of Burlington, Huntington, Charleswood and Southdale to commit thefts of property from motor vehicles. The areas are along and south of 13th Avenue East and north of I-94. Nearly all of the thefts involve vehicles that have been left unlock. The thieves rummage through the vehicles in an apparent attempt to find money, cigarettes or other valuable items. A few vehicle windows have been broken to steal high dollar items like electronics or billfolds and purses.

During each event multiple thefts are occurring along a single roadway or in a limited area leading police detectives to believe those responsible are traveling by foot or riding bike and skateboards. Nearly all of the incidents are taking place during the night time hours. Police have not developed a particular pattern as to what night of the week the thefts are occurring. Detectives also believe the number of crimes is underreported as some people do not realize their vehicle has been entered.

You can help the police department locate those responsible for the crimes by reporting suspicious activity to the police department. Notify police if you see people walking or biking at night and looking into vehicle windows. File a report if your vehicle has been entered. This allows officers to develop patterns which may lead to an arrest. If your motion sensing outdoor light becomes activated take time to look outside to see if you can see what may have triggered the light.

Discourage thieves by locking your vehicle. Remove valuable items from the vehicle or store them out of sight in a safe location. Never leave keys for your home, your business or a vehicle inside. When possible park your vehicle inside a locked garage or in an area where it is clearly visible. Parking your vehicle in a location obstructed from view allows a criminal an opportunity to commit a crime with little risk of being detected. If you leave your vehicle unlocked and parked outdoors approach with caution. You may be unfortunate enough to discover someone inside the vehicle.

Thefts from motor vehicles are typically cyclic in pattern. The person or persons committing the thefts will be responsible for nearly all the activity which occurs over a particular period of time. Once they have been identified and arrested the crimes stop. There will be a time of low criminal activity before the pattern will again begin to trend higher due to the same subjects reoffending or a new group of people being responsible for the thefts.

Lock it. Don't lose it.