FLAGSTAFF — At about 6:30 am this morning, Tuesday, June 16, 2015 a Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the report of a vehicle burglary in Pioneer Valley Estates on Pioneer Valley Road. The reporting party believed the crime occurred sometime after Monday, June 15, 2015 7:30 pm and before Tuesday, June 15, 2015 6:00 am. According to the victim the vehicle was left unlocked and several items of value were taken. After taking the initial report Deputies drove the area and discovered an additional 5 vehicle burglaries. Deputies found several vehicles with doors left open. Many of the vehicle owners were asleep and unaware that their vehicle had been burglarized. Due to similar physical evidence found at several of the crime scenes Deputies believe all of the crimes were committed by the same suspect or group of suspects.
These burglaries also occurred in Sunset Crater Estates on Moonbeam and Gemini. Items taken during the burglaries included a portable audio player, a satellite radio receiver, cash and loose change, and a firearm. All the victims told the investigators that they left their vehicles unlocked. During the investigations Deputies learned that locked vehicles located in close proximity to the burglarized vehicles were left untouched. It is not uncommon for individuals who commit vehicle burglaries to walk a neighborhood and check the doors of each vehicle. If the vehicle is locked they move on until they find a vehicle that is unlocked.
Auto-burglary prevention, like all crime prevention, involves limiting the criminal’s ability and/or opportunity to commit the crime. With very little time and effort, you can make a huge difference in your vulnerability to auto-burglary.
- Lock ALL your vehicle’s doors even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time. Every year, we have items stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner was only going to be gone “just for a second.” It only takes seconds to steal your stuff! It’s not uncommon for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles and check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked. Don’t leave any window open or even cracked open, including vent/wing windows and sunroofs.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car. That sounds like “common sense,” but drivers/passengers do leave items of value in plain view every day. If you leave valuable items visible in your car, your car is automatically a target.
- Try to park in busy, well-lighted areas. Try to park in well-traveled areas. Large anonymous lots are hit by thieves much more often than parking immediately adjacent to residential housing or other occupied buildings.
- Set any alarm or anti-theft device. If you have one, use it! Many people believe that car-alarms no longer make a difference, but they can be an effective deterrent to an auto-burglar, who most often chooses the easiest target.
- Mark your valuables! As a last line of defense (not really to prevent theft as much as to aid in recovery), mark your valuables. Recording serial numbers is dandy, but nowadays many serial numbers are on removable “labels” rather than “engraved” into valuable items. Sheriff Pribil suggests inscribing/engraving a “personal identifier” on all valuables.
- Take Removable Equipment with You. If you have an after-market stereo/CD-player with a removable faceplate, remove it. Without the faceplate, the unit is less attractive/useful to many thieves, and harder to “fence.” If the unit can be pulled, pull it! Take it with you. Just covering a valuable radio (or ANY valuables in your car) with something (like a blanket or towel) to hide it will probably only draw thieves’ attention.
- Report Suspicious Activity. If you see suspicious activity, report it to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 774-4523 or call 911
- What to do if something is stolen out of your car. As soon as you notice something’s stolen (or that your car has been broken into) do not touch/adjust anything in, on, or around the car. As soon as possible, call the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.
What Items are Most Commonly Stolen from Vehicles?
- Backpacks, gym bags, briefcases, day-planners
- Cash/coins, checkbooks and credit/debit cards
- Wallets and purses (even when hidden under a seat or in an unlocked glove compartment)
- Laptop computers, iPods and MP3 players (and docking stations)
- Cell phones (and chargers)
- Portable GPS navigation systems
- Stereo/CD players (and faceplates), amps, speakers (even when bolted down!)
- Jewelry, keys, mail (identity theft), tools
- Anything of obvious value