By Kathi Bliss
Recent reports from the Lockhart Police Department indicate a spike in “car crimes,” including burglaries and auto theft, in the last several months.
According to information released by the Lockhart Police Department on Wednesday morning, investigators are currently mired down with a rash of car burglaries, numbering more than 20 in the last four months time. In addition, they are investigating four car thefts in the last 30 days.
The common thread that exists in these crimes, according to Lockhart Police Department Captain John Roescher, the public information officer for the department, is the concept of “opportunity.”
“In all of these cases, the vehicles were left unlocked with valuables clearly visible,” he said. “And in all four of the thefts, the vehicles were unlocked and the keys were inside.”
Roescher said while there has been some property recovery, occasionally in conjunction with the report of another theft, there has been no “big break” in the cases. Police are unsure whether the incidents are related, or whether the rise is simply a matter of convenience.
“We need to remind people to lock their cars, and to take their valuables inside,” said LPD Chief Mike Lummus. “The way these things have happened… citizens don’t need to make it any easier for criminals than they have to.”
Neither Lummus nor Roescher could point to one particular area or time of day when the burglaries have occurred, nor were they willing to name any suspects. Roescher said some leads were available, but the most important thing, in his opinion, is curtailing the problem before it gets worse.
“We’re still investigating these incidents, and we will continue to investigate,” he said. “But we do need the public’s help. We need them to make sure that they are taking steps to protect themselves and their property.”
Those protection efforts include securing one’s vehicle and either hiding or removing any valuables. Roescher said a number of small items, including laptops, MP3 players and cell phones had been left in plain view in some of the burglarized vehicles.
In addition, drivers should park their cars, when possible, in well-lit areas, and never leave their keys in their vehicles.
Anyone with information about these incidents is encouraged to contact the Lockhart Police Department at (512) 398-4401.