Smash and Grab

By Max Resnik

August 17, 2011 Updated Aug 17, 2011 at 6:25 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Twenty-five phone calls concerning vehicle break-ins were made Tuesday night to the Fort Wayne Police Department. Eighteen of those occurred in the city’s northwest quadrant with 12 of those occurring in hotel parking lots.

According to Fort Wayne Police Department Public Information Officer Raquel Foster, thieves surveying parking lots for vulnerable cars are opportunistic criminals. She says they are focused on stealing only what it is visible to the naked eye. Typically, those are things like GPS systems, iPods, laptop bags and loose change.

“They're grabbing only the items that they want that are visible to them. Whether it's the cell phone, the GPS unit, an iPod or loose change, they're not really rummaging around for other things, so they're not leaving a lot of evidence for us to trace back to them."

She says even a power cord, something used to charge a GPS system or a cell phone, is also big attractor of thieves.

“They believe if there's a power cord in that vehicle, there's probably an expensive item that should be attached to that power cord in the center console. So they may very well break that glass, gaining access and hoping to find whatever item was attached to that power cord.”

In the month of August, according to statistics obtained from the Fort Wayne Police Department, thefts from vehicles have occurred 166 times with the majority on Fort Wayne’s southeast side. Since 2008, the total number of thefts from vehicles has steadily decreased. In 2008, thefts from vehicles were close to 2,900. By December of 2010, that number dropped to less than 2,200. Statistics, including Tuesday night’s thefts, bring 2011’s total to 1,388.

Foster says hotel patrons and apartment residents can live by the same set of rules. She says patrons and residents need to park their cars in well-lit areas, near main entrances and exits and always lock their doors and roll up their windows.

Right now, FWPD is looking for witnesses to come forward with any information concerning the vehicle break-ins. Currently, there are no suspects.

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