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Stolen pompoms nothing to cheer about

Posted September 10, 2008

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— Almost a quarter of the major crimes reported in Raleigh involve thefts from vehicles, but one recent theft wasn't a run-of-the-mill smash-and-grab.

Someone busted out the back window of Kristen Smith's Mercedes outside the north Raleigh bank where she works and snatched T-shirts, pants and pompoms belonging to the North Carolina State University dance team. Smith also coaches the team.

"We thought some of our uniform tops were gone, which would have been tragedy," Smith said.

"I don't recall another case where we have anything like that taken from a vehicle," said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department.

From April 2007 through the end of March, 3,662 thefts from vehicles were reported in Raleigh, about a quarter of the 14,876 major crimes reported during the period.

The case is a case so out of the ordinary that police have renewed a call for locking vehicles and hiding valuables left inside.

"I'm not blaming the victims for the crimes that are committed, (but there are things people can do ) to prevent themselves from becoming victims," Sughrue said.

Portable Global-Positioning Satellite devices and MP3 players are top targets for thieves because they can be stolen and sold quickly. For example, 526 GPS units were reported stolen from cars between January and August, compared with 87 during the same period last year.

Smith said she is keeping an eye out for the dance team's stolen equipment.

"If I see someone out there with some pompoms, I'm going to go after them," she said. "I've been looking on eBay to see if someone has been trying to sell them, but probably not."


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