A rash of vehicle break-ins along quiet Minden streets, including five this past Friday, has Minden police officers hoping residents will change one habit which seems to be aiding the culprits.
“There is no forced entry and no damage to any of the vehicles which have been entered and from which items have been taken,” Minden Chief of Police Steve Cropper said. “We’ve determined in each case, the doors to the vehicles were not locked.”
In these “crimes of opportunity,” Cropper said an individual or group of people walk the streets late at night or early in the morning and simply check the doors of vehicles parked on the street, in driveways or in open carports.
“They will try the door and if it’s locked, they just move on. If it opens, they will get inside and check everywhere, especially the glove box and console, for any item that can be removed without damaging the car’s interior,” he said. “The whole break-in can take less than one minute and the suspect will be gone.”
Cropper said five vehicles on Rathbun Street and Drew Lane were reportedly entered very early Friday. Officers nearly got the piece of luck they needed to solve what Cropper said are crimes that are extremely difficult to solve.
“We have to be lucky or just catch a break and we nearly did Friday,” he said. “We got a call around 3 a.m. Friday from a subject who saw a suspect going through a vehicle on Rathbun Street. We responded quickly, but the person was already gone.”
Cropper said additional vehicles were reportedly entered over the weekend on Nella Street, B.F. Martin Drive and Mignon Street.
“We aren’t sure at this time what, if anything, was taken,” he said.
These latest vehicle “illegal entries” come just a matter of weeks after another five or six vehicles reportedly were rifled through on Cline Street. No suspects have been arrested in those cases, Cropper said.
Some items thieves hope to find in unlocked vehicles include firearms of any type, photographic equipment, cash, jewelry, credit and debit cards and tools, Cropper said. Any of these items can either be kept for use of the
thieves or sold for cash.
“If something is taken that is fairly valuable, then pawned, our chances of catching the suspect increase dramatically,” the chief said. “It’s hard to keep waiting for a break in these cases, but we’ll keep patrolling and something will happen to help us.”
Cropper said Minden residents need to understand the importance of locking their vehicles.
“It takes so little time to get into a car through an open door and steal everything of value without damaging the interior,” the chief said. “With the holiday season coming up, we all should lock our vehicle doors every time we’re leaving them for even a brief period of time. Locking a door is easier than dealing with theft.”