Thieves hit unlocked vehiclesPublished 10:12pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Patricia Artis says she always locks the doors to her car, but Sunday night was the one night she forgot.
That was the night unidentified marauders roamed through her neighborhood off Bennetts Pasture Road, rummaging through vehicles at no fewer than nine homes and stealing small amounts of cash, purses, wallets and other items.
Artis wasn’t surprised they stole change and about $10 in cash, nor was she shocked they took a flashlight and a case of CDs.
But she was taken aback to find her Bible missing from the backseat.
Fortunately, it was found a short time later on the ground across the street. Some people keep money in their Bibles, Artis pointed out, and she figures that’s what the thieves were seeking.
“After they didn’t find anything, they just threw it on the ground,” she said. “I think they were just looking for money.”
Her husband discovered the theft Monday morning when he went outside to leave for work and found items strewn on the ground.
“It’s the first time in 30 years we’ve lived here that this has happened,” Artis said.
Across the street, Jeremiah Jarriel and his family had a similar experience. They awoke Monday to find the glove compartments and center consoles of their vehicles open, though it did not appear anything had been taken.
“They were just looking for a quick steal,” Jarriel said, noting his metal detector, tools and Xbox parts had not been taken. “They lucked out nobody around here was awake.”
Jarriel said his family frequently leaves its cars unlocked. That will change now, he added.
“We’ve lived in this neighborhood for forever, and nobody’s ever broken into our cars,” he said.
The Nansemond Shores neighborhood where Artis and Jarriel live was the most recent target of the thieves. The same night, a handful of thefts were reported in the Orlando area, east of downtown. A number of communities near major roads like Bennetts Pasture Road, Bridge Road and Shoulders Hill Road have been hit recently, city spokeswoman Diana Klink said in a press release.
Police are urging citizens to take simple precautions to avoid becoming victims, even for folks who feel they live in safe neighborhoods, Klink said in the release.
Some tips to protect your vehicle and its contents include:
- Always lock your vehicle and close the windows before leaving it unattended, even if you’re just inside for a few minutes.
- Never leave the keys in the ignition when the vehicle is unattended.
- Do not hide spare keys anywhere on the car.
- Do not leave items — whether they’re valuable or just spare change — within view. If you must leave valuables in a car, hide them before arriving so a thief does not see you hiding them.
- Do not leave registration papers, driver’s licenses or other identifying documents in the car, as this would alert a thief that the home is unattended if the car is elsewhere.
- Do not have your personal address on tags attached to car keys.
- Contact police if you see any suspicious activity in your neighborhood or elsewhere.
Anyone who has information on the thefts is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Callers to Crime Line never have to give their names or appear in court, and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.