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Smash-and-grab vehicle break-ins on rise in Fayetteville

Posted August 19, 2008

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— Police asked for the community’s help Tuesday to reduce the number of vehicle break-ins.

Officers have investigated 722 "smash-and-grab" vehicle break-ins since April 10, compared with 681 from Jan. 1 through April 10. Of the more recent incidents, global-positioning system units were stolen most often, police said.

Thieves have taken 163 GPS units since April 10, with 133 of them taken as a result of motor vehicle break-ins, police said. In most cases, the systems were left in plain sight in a vehicle, they said.

"If you got your valuables sitting out, they're going to take a rock and smash that glass," Sgt. Steve McIntosh of the Fayetteville Police Department said. "They're in and out and gone."

Last week, thieves targeted an apartment complex parking lot, smashing the windows of three cars and grabbing a television from a headrest, a fold-down, flat-screen TV, a PlayStation console and a laptop computer.

McIntosh said the break-ins have occurred across Fayetteville, from business parking lots to residential streets. Removing gadgets from the car and leaving a clip on the windshield is still a lure for thieves, he said.

"The crook's going to know, 'Hey, they probably got a GPS. I'm going to check and see if I can get in there, and if not, I'm going to smash the glass and go through the console,'" he said.

Unsecured vehicles made up an additional 233 break-ins, police said. In those cases, thieves walk through a parking lot or neighborhood testing door handles until they find those that are unlocked. They then open the door and take anything of value in the vehicle and then leave the area, police said.

Raleigh police investigated 3,662 thefts from vehicles between April 2007 and March, while Chapel Hill police investigated 329  such cases during the same period.

Police recover the stolen items in only a few cases, McIntosh said, noting too many people make it too easy for the thieves.

"They just get so wrapped up in whatever they're doing during the day that they just forget about their valuables inside their vehicles," he said.


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  • readme Aug 20, 2008

    All of you folks that moved here from big northern cities listen to me. We should not accept a society where you can't leave a GPS unit in your car without fear of someone stealing it. Yes, we should secure our belongings. but we will all forget to do this at least 1 or 2 days out of the year, but it is NEVER your fault when a low-life scum breaks your window or even pulls open an unlocked door and steals from you. As a society, we need to punish people severely for this and at least try to move toward a society where losers like this don't exist. Do not accept a society where you live in fear. I lived in Puerto Rico and this is how it was. Believe me you don't want Raleigh to be like Puerto Rico.

  • discowhale Aug 20, 2008

    No report of how many paper maps or atlases were stolen. How can we compare?

  • Ma4Tucker Aug 20, 2008

    ok so I'm just curious, if your car was broken into with a slim jim, is it being counted here? the article is only mentioning the "smash and grab". Also, we were guilty of having 2 GPS and one iPod in plain view...shame on us. Really we should be ashamed right? I mean we're just encouraging them. God forbid the Fayetteville police make rounds in our neighborhood.

  • WHEEL Aug 19, 2008

    The Fayetteville Police have a lot of suggestions about what residents should do to prevent thefts. Here is a novel idea for the Police. Patrol the City, cath the crooks and lock them up.

  • 42ITUS Aug 19, 2008

    Miami has gates into hotel parking lots. I thought it was silly for him to park his car, lock it, and take out his briefcase to go into the lobby for less than a minute. Funny until I came out of a restaurant and could not find our car in the "guarded" parking lot. Car had suitcases, briefcases, computers, and airline tickets inside.

  • trainloadr Aug 19, 2008

    If it is our fault for some low life to break in to our cars then there should be a law against it - to protect the thugs. This is like saying that a lady causes a rape by the way she may dress or act. Also I think it may be our fault that the illegals are here because we do not have a good border system in place, for our country. I for one speed because the roads are in such good shape, not really my fault, the state made it easy. Not to make little of what your said blackdwg, I do understand, but why can't we blame the ones that are doing the crime. All that I have heard is that it is our problem that these folks steal, not that they are at fault. WE do need to protect our belongings - but that aint what this should be about.

  • blackdwg32 Aug 19, 2008

    "WOW! I guess it is our fault that these low lifes break in to our vehicles. This is a poor state of affairs."
    Yes its partially fault of the vehicles owner. If nothing isvisible why would someone want to break into your car? A criminal goes for the easiest way to take someone elese property. Simple dont leave it out to be taken and they move on the the next. The more obstacles you use for prevention the more likely you will be passed up for your neighbor that has left the doors unlocked and their GPS on free to view from the street at night. Lock your doors and take valuables out!

  • trainloadr Aug 19, 2008

    WOW! I guess it is our fault that these low lifes break in to our vehicles. This is a poor state of affairs.

  • RICKJAMES Aug 19, 2008

    HMMM....Let's see here, lock your doors, take GPS systems down when parked, and crime rate on break-ins will go down! Sounds simple enough to me!

  • Felton23 Aug 19, 2008

    Have to put away those GPS devices. You wouldn't leave a couple hundred dollars sitting on your dash. Don't know why people leave things in their cars in plain sight.