Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Police investigating rash of car burglaries

April 5, 2007


West Lawrence neighborhood hit by auto burglars

One Lawrence family is still without a car tonight after thieves strike their west Lawrence home. Enlarge video

The last two days have been full of frustration and stress for Mike and Gwen Clancy.

Their 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe was stolen early Tuesday morning from their driveway in the 1000 block of Stonecreek Drive and found by police later that afternoon southeast of Topeka.

The burglar found a spare key inside the unlocked vehicle. The Clancys have spent the last two days canceling credit cards and taking other protective measures.

Several neighbors in the vicinity west of Wakarusa Drive have had similar experiences this week, as Lawrence police on Wednesday announced they were working 13 reports of auto burglaries and vehicle thefts that occurred Monday and Tuesday in the same west Lawrence area. Area residents suspect a well-planned theft operation.

"I'd like to see them caught. They've obviously been tearing the neighborhood up here," said Mike Clancy, a Lawrence contractor.

At 11:30 p.m. Monday, burglars in the 5200 block of Harvard Road found a spare key and drove away with a 2000 Saab that was in an open garage.

Kathy Occhipinto said she and her family were home asleep during that time. Several valuable items were inside the vehicle, and officers had not found the Saab as of Wednesday, but several credit card and other transactions have been attempted in Topeka related to the owner, she said.

"I think some of us are banding together to set up a neighborhood watch," Occhipinto said.

Police also said that in another incident officers found a vehicle reported stolen from Topeka near Sixth Street and Congressional Drive in Lawrence.

Police spokeswoman Kim Murphree said Wednesday that officers were still finishing reports on six of the reported auto burglaries.

Police have advised people to lock their vehicles at all times, keep all valuables hidden or out of unattended vehicles and to keep garage doors closed and locked.

"It's still a really safe neighborhood. I just think people need to be a little smarter, including myself," said Gwen Clancy, a retail store manager.

Since Monday, police have taken 11 reports of auto burglaries, including reports of suspects breaking windows to get into vehicles in the 1400 block of Marilee Drive, the 5200 block of Harvard Road, the 1800 block of Sweetwater Court, the 1300 block of Morgan Court, and the 5000 block of Congressional Way.

Details were not yet available, but as of Wednesday evening, police said they had also responded to three auto burglary reports in the 700 and 800 blocks of Fox Chase Court and more vehicle burglaries in the 1600 block of Bob White Drive, the 1200 block of Waverly Drive and the 5000 block of Jeffries Court.


johnadavies 10 years, 8 months ago

With great wealth should come, if not wisdom, at least a healthy sense of paranoia. Don't leave things in your cars, park your cars in one of the 4 garages that you all have, set the alarms and buy a big dog! People in Johnson County have already lived this story so it was only a matter of time before all of the migrants from JOCO would live it also! The crime has followed you and it has found you!

occhip5 10 years, 8 months ago

It is so nice to see all of you so judgmental, stemming from the posts from yesterday as well. We are one of the car theft victims. Yes, we made a MISTAKE a mistake we are now paying for! Our garage doors were left open by mistake , our house alarm was on, we own a big dog who was outside at the time, lights were on inside our house and some of us were still awake. What IS scary, is these people had the gall to invade our home and take our property. The keys were NOT sitting out in the open, they were in a compartment in the other car. It is a huge wake up call to our family and the families who live around us. Our sense of security has been stolen, along with our posessions. Property can be replaced, we will move on, but these thugs are so brazen it could only be a matter of time before someone is hurt.

FreetoBe47 10 years, 8 months ago

Am I missing something here? Why would you be asleep and have your garage door open at 11:30 at night with valuables in your car. There was a time and place where you could leave your house unlocked and your vehicles unlocked, unfortunately that time and place has not existed since the late 60's early 70's. God gives you a brain but you also have to engage it!!!

Bassetlover 10 years, 8 months ago

My husband and I have both left our garage door open at night unintentionally a few times, only to discover it open the following morning. Our neighbors have also done this from time to time. And I'm willing to bet 99% of all people having a garage with an automatic opener have also done this a time or two. Give these poor folks a break, people!!!! West side of town, east side of town, it doesn't matter! Sheesh!

sourpuss 10 years, 8 months ago

I think it is a pretty bad idea to leave "spare keys" in your car... even your other car. I guess everyone does this, so the thieves prey on this dumb practice. My spare keys are given to a good friend in town, and I have her keys. Sure, it is a little less convenient if locked out, but much safer as no one who stole my keys from her could really attach them to me in particular. Give your keys to a neighbor or friend, don't leave them in your car!

My car was broken into in front of my house (no garage). I drive a convertable so I purposely leave the doors unlocked since I don't want some lunk kid slashing my soft top. What was stolen? About $2 in assorted change for parking meters and my cute little stuffed dinosaur mirror bauble. This was it you ask? That is all I kept in my car. I was frankly more upset about the dinosaur, but I made another one.

If you treat your car like a rolling house, then people will break into it and steal things because it is easier than breaking into your house. And I guess if you leave your house unlocked (even in the form of an open garage door) then someone will probably enter it and take stuff. And while sides of town don't really matter, if I am going to sweep a neighborhood, I'm going to go after the neighborhood I think has the new HD TVs, iPods, HD DVDs, laptops, etc. I can safely say that such things are quite rare on my eastside street. After all, same penalty for breaking and entering... you're going to go after the good stuff.

irnmadn88 10 years, 8 months ago

Most vehicle crimes committed are crimes of opportunity. Were the vehicles hit the only vehicles on the street? Doubt that very much. More likely than not, the hit vehicles presented the best opportunity.

As stated above, leaving nothing of value in the vehicle = no opportunity for theft.

oldvet 10 years, 8 months ago

I remember an article a few years ago about how there were more Corvettes stolen in the city of Chicago than there were Corvettes registered in the city of Chicago... the point being that if you drove your Vette into Chicago, there was a good probability you might not be driving it home...

A good long-term theft deterent is to wire a pound of C4 under the driver's seat, set to go off a few minutes after the car starts unless you disarm it with a hidden switch (don't forget!!!)... yes, you will loose your car, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that sucker will never steal another car... ;-)

samsnewplace 10 years, 8 months ago

You would be surprised how many fools still don't lock their car and then they are crying because someone stole their belongings.........duh! Why not leave the windows down and the doors wide open too.

Justin Roberts 10 years, 8 months ago

You are all missing the point. It does not matter which side of town you live on, theft of personal property is against the law. It's your car and you should be able to leave it in the middle of Wal-Mart parking lot with the keys in the ignition. Nobody should mess with it because it DOES NOT BELONG TO THEM.

If the thieves happen to be reading this here is a little food for thought. You entered a garage to break into the car, thus you were trespassing on private property. Have you ever heard of the "Make My Day Law"? It states that the owner of the property can take your life if you are trespassing on private property and they consider you a threat. I catch you in my garage and it is game over!

Gabe Hoffman 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm not to surprised to see these cars end up in Topuka.

I had my window broken and stuff stolen exactly one week after I lost my remote. Chances are, people are watching your car and your habits trying to find the perfect time to get your stuff.

samsnewplace 10 years, 8 months ago

onmysoapbox how naive are you? Crime is going to occur, if you want to help prevent it from happening to you, be wise and lock things up. How long do you honestly think a car in wal-mart's parking lot with the keys in it and the doors unlocked is going to just sit there? If you are really lucky, it might be there when you are done shopping, if not......what do you expect!

Justin Roberts 10 years, 8 months ago

Samsnewplace you are missing the point. If it does not belong to you LEAVE IT ALONE.

LIfe is full of choices. If you choose to break into my home and steal my belongings, I choose to end your life. Plane and simple.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 8 months ago

True story: I know a couple in Greenwich, Connecticut who had their $80k BMW stolen. The problem being that they routinely left it parked overnight in the driveway with the keys in the ignition. They live in a gated community, but the thief simply climbed the wall one night and went car shopping in the neighborhood. As he drove away, the security guy opened the gate to let him drive away; obviously not knowing he had just stolen the car. This couple was furious with the security guy, but failed to realize that the car would still be in their possession if they had an ounce of common sense.

Emily Hadley 10 years, 8 months ago

You wanted East Topeka, you got it.

It's hard to create a neighborhood watch when you don't have a neighborhood.

samsnewplace 10 years, 8 months ago

Kam_Fong THANK YOU! Evidently onmysoapbox missed getting the common sense portion during his life where the rest of us did. I am not going to steal anyone's car/personal anything.....but there are those that will and use common sense and maybe it will deter the crime. GEEZ~!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 8 months ago

"Their 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe was stolen early Tuesday morning from their driveway in the 1000 block of Stonecreek Drive and found by police later that afternoon southeast of Topeka."

SOMEWHERE in that paragraph there is a CLUE regarding WHERE all this os coming from...

Adrienne Sanders 10 years, 8 months ago

Sure, no one has a right to steal your private property, but IMO you do have a responsiblity to take reasonable precautions with it... I'd rather cave to the pressure and lock my car, than assert my property rights, leave the keys in and get all indignant when it's stolen.

I think the main difference between the west side of town and the east is that many folks downtown/east side don't even have garages.

ontheotherhand 10 years, 8 months ago

Leaving your garage door open all night happens--we tend to do it just once and then the paranoia sets in so we don't ever forget.

People must remember, though, that a lot of garage door openers are on the same frequency; my garage door opener has opened my neighbor's garage door at least five times over the past few years--no kidding! One night they heard me drive into my driveway and then they heard their garage door go up.

Given this possibility, it's always safe to not keep keys in your vehicles, and you should always lock the door that goes in to your house from the garage!

newtongirl 10 years, 8 months ago

The reason the west side got hit is because the thieves are obviously from Topeka. If the thieves knew their way around Lawrence well and if still being in town when the cops were called by the victims weren't a big deal, they may have branched out. Just like next time the theives from the 'Dotte are in town, east-siders are going to get hit. Last time I checked, there's no shortage of nice cars on the east side.

Garage doors get left open every once in a while. Just like if you've owned a TV all your life, chances are you've accidentally left it on at least once. So an accident doesn't automatically remove a person's (whom you don't even know) common sense. It happens. If it didn't, we'd all be Gods.

Adrienne Sanders 10 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, but keeping spare keys in your vehicle isn't an accident.

9999 10 years, 8 months ago

22nd and Kasold, my brother's car has been broken into twice in 2 weeks.........

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

Why on earth would anyone leave spare car keys in a car, even a different car? That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? What would they have done if they'd managed to get locked out of both cars at the same time?

My sister has the spare keys to my car. I don't leave them here.

And why would anyone leave any kind of credit card or debit card inside their car, even if locked? That's just daring someone to take them. Put your wallet or purse, including all cards, in your house, for heaven's sake.

Why didn't they just leave all their vaulable jewelry out in the car, too? It would make as much sense to me.

lawrencechick 10 years, 8 months ago

God forbid there were ever a disaster in this town. The community support for eachother is nonexistent. For supposedly being one of the most educated towns in Kansas, it is also one of the nastiest. From reading these and other posts the "east siders" sound like a bunch of elitest snots.

Adrienne Sanders 10 years, 8 months ago

Lawrencechick, maybe us educated folks just have high standards for who deserves support & sympathy. If there were a disaster and people were hurt through no fault of their own, I would have sympathy for them and so would others. I also have sympathy for people like 9999 who posts that his brother's car was broken into twice. Assuming it was actually broken into, not "stuff was stolen 'cause he left it unlocked."

There are way too many articles about "burglaries" where people didn't lock their doors, people who are stuck in a lease b/c they failed to read the fine print before signing a contract, etc. I don't feel sorry for them! People need to take reasonable care of themselves and their belongings!

person184 10 years, 8 months ago

Lots of bitter and jaded people on here.

FreetoBe47 10 years, 8 months ago

No we are not missing the point! I think it is terrible that people choose to steal and violate anyone's personal property. I have never left my garage door open overnight, in fact the last thing I do before I go to bed is to make sure it is down and all of the doors are secure. I just think it is silly to waaahhhh when part of the blame lies on the person who didn't use some common sense!!!

FreetoBe47 10 years, 8 months ago

I am not bitter or jaded either one. I also happen to live on the west side of town. I think it is terrible that people steal, violate people's property, and make a life of illegal activities. Unfortunately, this is the way it is and so a person must be as cautious as possible and make it as difficult as possible for someone to rip them off.

kidsrfun 10 years, 8 months ago

wow! Apparently all of you are perfect and have never had an error in judgment or made a mistake. I should only wish you never become a victim of a crime, but then I guess you won't because you are perfect.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps I've always been more cautious because I haven't had everything handed to me on a silver platter. I've had to work damn hard for everything I have. No, possessions are not the most important thing in life. But when you've been in a position most of your life where things are damned difficult to replace, then you tend to take better care of the things you do have.

I have never in my life been stupid enough to leave anything valuable in my car, locked or not. It's an invitation to disaster. Because even though people should leave things alone that don't belong to them, if you have any common sense at all you know that's not going to happen. People who are thieves don't give a rat's a** about the niceties of society.

You might as well leave your 12-year-old daughter sitting curbside for two hours every evening, with a sign around her neck saying, "perverts, stay away!", don't watch her at all, and then moan and groan when something happens to her.

Adrienne Sanders 10 years, 8 months ago

A mistake is when you accidentally leave your garage door open one night. Leaving your keys in your car on a regular basis is a conscious decision. It's two different things.

johnadavies 10 years, 8 months ago

Someone who knows me wondered about how serious I was with that first entry; deadly serious! She thought I was being mean; but apparently judging by some of the later postings I didn't go far enough! There is no longer a Mayberry in this world no matter how much we miss it! Did you see how crazy it seemed when those people in South Africa left their doors and windows open and the baboon troop moved into their houses and stole their food? Well how much more crazy does it seem to do that here? Get a dog, get an alarm, get a gun or a bigger boyfriend (or girlfriend) and get on with life with your doors securely locked and your seat backs in their full upright position!

hujiko 10 years, 8 months ago

I definitely always lock my car, whether Im in my garage, in a parking lot, or on a country road, but my car is soft-topped, so it kinda defeats the purpose, but it's still a deterrent. where ever you go, youre bound to have someone window shop, so always hide stuff, or lock away things like cds and your cd face in the glove box.

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