(PARKERSBURG, WV) - Authorities in Parkersburg are investigating a cluster of thefts resulting from recent vehicle break-ins, and they’re reminding you to think twice before leaving things you value in your car.
These thefts have occurred at Erickson Field and the 1300 block of DuPont Road, and police believe they are connected after witnesses provided information on stolen property that was disposed of there.
Parkersburg Police Chief Joseph Martin says most burglary suspects exhibit patterns of thievery that may suggest locking your vehicle isn’t enough security.
“Typically, what we’ve seen in years past is that these suspects target large parking lots, and they identify valuables that are in their plain view, whether the vehicle’s locked or not,” Martin says.
He says sporting events are a particular target for these thieves, and that most people—especially women with purses—leave belongings locked in cars because they don’t usually need to take them into the events, and they also assume those belongings will be there when they return.
Martin also says the thieves in this case come to public events prepared with a thought-out plan, which includes using tools to break windows.
“Usually, they have one or more lookouts in these large parking lots, and one or two will be looking out and the other will be doing the smash-and-grabs,” he says.
Chief Martin also encourages folks to use a common sense approaches such as not leaving valuables in plain view, which he believes will deter the would-be thieves. He says locking items in trunks or securing belongings in other storage units are also great ways to protect your belongings.
Some items have been recovered and returned to victims in the investigation, but police say the subjects have kept credit and debit cards. Police have advised those victims to contact their banks to report the thefts.
The suspects in the case are believed to be driving a gray van with Ohio registration, and police are asking anyone with information on the suspects to call the department at 304-424-8444.
Community members can also provide tips to the Parkersburg Police website at www.parkersburgpolice.com.