Local News

Car Thieves on a Roll in Durham

Posted August 11, 1998

— It's happening in neighborhoods across the Triangle -- thieves are rummaging through cars, stealing valuable items, and often driving off in the cars of people inside their homes having dinner or watching television.

Police say a theft ring is operating out of Durham. Sometimes they break into cars, other times they steal the car itself. Wednesday afternoon, police told WRAL's Mark Roberts that thieves had actually broken into the personal cars of two Durham police officers. Two service revolvers and a badge are missing. Another badge was recovered.

You probably think your car is pretty safe, parked on the street in your neighborhood, but one woman's story might change your mind. She didn't want her name used or her neighborhood revealed. Thieves hit both of her two cars as they sat parked in her driveway. She lost cell phones, credit cards, and her peace of mind.

"It's sad they've made us prisoners in our own home, where we have felt safe," the woman said. "My children are afraid, and that's what I think makes me the angriest. They can have the car. They can have the credit cards, the money, but my children, who I have to answer their questions, they don't understand and that's what makes me angry."

"We've got one specific individual in Durham that we can tie to auto break-ins and larcenies in Chapel Hill, Guilford County, Wake County and Durham," said Durham Police Sgt. Robin James.

Law officers in Durham and the county are no strangers to suspects who steal cars and things out of thems. In one recent incident they caught a group of alleged car thieves cruising in a stolen vehicle. Police say they need some help to stop the latest rash of thefts.

"A lot of reports on breaking into cars is they're taking cellular phones," said James. "If they can put the phone somewhere out of sight a lot of people can save themselves a lot of trouble. We have a high number of break-ins and the only thing that'll be taken is a cellular phone."

Police say they do have a line on a suspect, because someone has used a credit card belonging to a recent theft victim.

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