Police look into more thefts, riflings

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2003

Whoever is committing the recent rash of thefts and vehicle riflings is getting more audacious, with the latest batch happening in daylight and including a home burglary.

At least seven incidents of rifling or theft were reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 40 since Saturday, according to police. Officials said at least four of the thefts occurred before 5 p.m. Wednesday and a woman reported her Northland Street home was broken into sometime before 4:30 p.m. About $150 in change and a pottery bowl were stolen in that incident.

"This is very rare, in fact, it almost never happens," said Lt. Walt Boman. "It's one thing that makes it so difficult to catch these people. It's one thing to notice something suspicious around a vehicle at night, but during the day, people are out, they are doing things and going to their cars."

Most incidents occurred in Douglas, downtown and the Mendenhall Valley.

"These things are usually cyclic, but it has been particularly active lately, and they are spread out over a pretty wide area," Boman said. "At this point there's no way of knowing who's doing this or even if they are on foot or in cars."

Boman said police still are investigating a group of teenagers they interviewed early Tuesday.

According to Sgt. Dave Wrightson, police talked to five 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds in connection with thefts Monday night, but released them to parents. Even though police found what looked like stolen merchandise in the teens' vehicles, Boman said there wasn't enough evidence to prove the teens stole the items. No charges were filed in the case.

"We have definitely increased attention to this problem, but I won't go into specifics on this," he said. "In the meantime people should lock their car doors and take their valuables inside. And, parents need to start parenting. They need to know where their kids are at 4 a.m., what they are doing and noticing if merchandise is showing up around the house that shouldn't be."

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 586-0600.

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