Thieves targeting unlocked cars

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Thieves are taking advantage of unlocked cars in Groveport to steal money, credit cards, electronics, and more from inside the vehicles.

According to Groveport Police officials, the recent rash of thefts from vehicles have occurred on and around Center Street, Hickory Alley, and other alleys in town. One incident occurred in the GrovePointe subdivision where a theft happened when a garage door was left open.

“Ninety percent of these thefts are from vehicles that are unlocked or the vehicles’ windows are left open,” said Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams. “It’s rare that the suspects actually physically break into the vehicles. They don’t want to attract attention with noise because, if they are quiet, they can hit a lot of cars. They go along jiggling car door handles to see which ones are unlocked because it’s easier than breaking into the vehicle.”

According to Adams, the suspects are most likely teenagers or people in their early 20s.

“They often are people seeking money to feed their chemical dependency issues,” said Adams.

Adams said the thefts are happening at night. He said security camera videos can sometimes help identify suspects, but it is difficult to get detailed images after dark. He said cameras often show the suspects “brazenly walking through yards going from car to car and not trying to hide.”

Adams also said thieves have been cutting off and stealing catalytic converters from underneath vehicles in the Elmont Place and Hickory Grove subdivisions.

“They steal the catalytic converters for the valuable metals in them,” said Adams. “They take them to salvage yards to get quick money.”

Adams said the Groveport Police will concentrate patrols in the residential areas where the thefts are occurring. He said citizens can help prevent thefts by locking their cars, closing their garage doors, and not leaving valuable items in their cars in plain sight. He encouraged people to keep their porch lights on at night and to report it to the city if the streetlights on their streets are out. Additionally, he said that, if residents are going out of town on vacation or for other reasons, they can fill out a police house watch form at the Groveport Police Department, 5690 Clyde Moore Drive, Groveport.

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