Danville police warn public after series of vehicle break-ins

Published 7:24 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

Lock your cars, keep valuables out of sight, be vigilant — these are some of the tips officers are giving to residents after a handful of cars have been broken into throughout Danville.

There have been eight instances reported in May and June, said Danville Police Chief Tony Gray — five of those were in June alone, and those reports occurred mostly between June 10 and June 20.

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Gray said they aren’t sure if it is the same thieves each time, or different individuals committing the crimes. They have occurred at different days and times.

Of the most recent thefts, one happened the weekend of June 10 at Caldwell’s Collision Center on Lebanon Road.

“They came in on Monday and found someone had climbed over the fence,” Gray said. The thieves stole tools and parts off of cars.

The weekend of June 19, someone entered an area behind Stuart Powell and stole parts off of cars in the service area.

“They came in on Monday and found the cars,” Gray said.

It’s likely that the thieves at the two locations were the same individuals, but it’s uncertain if all of the thefts were connected.

“You can’t say no, and you can’t say yes,” Gray said.

During the week between, someone smashed the window out of two cars at the Bunny Davis Center during a late afternoon swim meet, stealing purses and other items; and someone entered into unlocked cars in the Streamland subdivision, stealing items overnight.

In May, there were thefts from cars on Martin Luther King Boulevard, North Fourth Street and Grant Street. Vehicles there were also unlocked, and some of the thefts happened during the day.

“One of them said they found their keys,” Gray said, explaining that the keys had been found away from the car. “A lot of times, when they take purses and things like that, they’re just looking for cash, and (victims will) find the purses or the contents outside of the vehicle.”

Gray said these kinds of crimes are hard to track back to a perpetrator, because they tend to be crimes of opportunity and a lot of times the criminal is on foot. In the cases of windows being smashed, or if the crimes happen overnight, it becomes harder to find fingerprints because they become distorted.

In the past, there have been rashes in certain areas of town, but these seem to be more sporadic, he said.

There are steps people can take to discourage break-ins, Gray said.

“Do lock your cars …  Don’t leave valuables in your car, even if they’re not in plain sight. If you can afford to get motion lights or something like that, usually that’s a distractor,” Gray said.

And always call it in, he said.

“Even if you don’t want to make a report, call in anyway, so we know,” Gray said. Sometimes, he said, people will go through a vehicle but not take anything. “We can start to look and see and track things. We can see trends.”