EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 24, 2013

Police warn drivers after many thefts from cars

Same thieves may have taken electronic devices

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — Police are warning drivers to lock the doors of their vehicles and move valuables out of view after a series of thefts in which electronic devices were taken.

The items stolen included GPS devices, cell phones and a camcorder, police said.

Most of the vehicles involved were left unlocked, police said. In some cases, thieves smashed windows to get in.

Several thefts from vehicles were reported Monday. Some were in the same area of the city, leading police to believe they may be connected.

“Some of the vehicles weren’t locked, and in one case it was a camcorder that may have been in plain view,” said police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson. “Don’t leave valuables out in plain view, even if it’s a minor thing such as loose change in a console. And please lock your car doors.”

Thompson said police received reports on Monday that seven vehicles were broken into. The first was reported at 6:36 a.m., when a resident of 19 Burke St. told police someone took a briefcase out of a Nissan Altima. A few hours later, police responded to 11 Beach St., where a pickup truck window had been smashed and a camcorder was taken. At 9:38 a.m., police responded to 19 Dexter St., where they were told a GPS and cell phone charger were taken from a vehicle. Police believe the vehicle may have been left unlocked. At the same address, a resident told police a cell phone and adapter were missing from a mini-van that had been left unlocked.

At 10:50 a.m., police responded to 92 9th Ave. on a report of an SUV that had been ransacked and missing music CDs.. At 11:08 a.m., police went to 16 Vine St. and were told a GPS device was missing from an SUV. Later that day, at 5:05 p.m., police responded to 10 Kimball St., where they were told a cell phone was taken from a Nissan Sentra that had been left unlocked.

Thompson said that in addition to taking precautions such as locking vehicle doors, not leaving valuables in plain sight or not leaving valuables in vehicles, drivers are urged to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

“It comes down to the same story, and that is people who see something suspicious, such as someone walking down the street looking into cars, we’d appreciate it if they would call us,” he said. “If you see a person or a group walking down the street looking into cars, it’s kind of suspicious and it would benefit everybody if people would call us and let us know what’s going on.”

On Tuesday, a woman told police she parked her Chevy Suburban at Cedardale athletic club, 931 Boston Road, and when she returned she found her driver’s side window smashed and her pocketbook containing $250 plus her license and credit cards missing. The break was reported at 7:15 p.m.

“In this case, her vehicle was locked and she said she’d placed her pocketbook under the seat,” Thompson said. “The people who break into cars in gym parking lots may be in the area, may watch you drive in, and if they see a woman walk into the gym without a pocketbook they know it may be in the car.”

Thompson said vehicle breaks have been reported at every health club in the city over the last year or so and suggests securing your valuables in a locker inside the club if possible. But, he said people have had things stolen out of gyms as well.