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Elizabethtown police are reporting a spike of unlocked vehicle break-ins in neighborhoods throughout the city.
EPD spokesman Virgil Willoughby said officers have responded to 24 vehicle break-ins since last Friday with four of those occurring Thursday.
Of those 24, Willoughby said just one case involved forced entry.
“(There was) just one where somebody broke a window to get the property,” he said.
Possessions reported stolen include credit cards and electronic items, such as GPS systems and iPads, Willoughby said.
Area law enforcement said thefts from unlocked cars are common and occur in spurts throughout the year, especially the summer.
Rashes of unlocked vehicle break-ins were reported in August in Vine Grove and Sonora.
In September, Kentucky State Police detectives investigated a series of thefts from cars at the Kentucky State Fair.
“One thing thieves look for is opportunity,” said Norman Chaffins, KSP Post 4 spokesman.
“Sometimes they may not even be out looking for something,” Chaffins said. “They just walk by or drive by and see something lying out.”
Willoughby said typically a suspect will check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked as he or she walks through a neighborhood or parking lot.
Car owners who leave vehicles unlocked with valuable items in sight are risking theft, he said. Many drivers also leave personal information such as insurance cards, vehicle registration and titles in their cars.
“It’s a bad way to start off 2013,” Willoughby said.
Willoughby said the holiday weekend’s rash of thefts from unlocked vehicles tied up patrol officers and detectives in cases that could have been prevented.
“It gets very frustrating for officers,” he said. “It takes man hours to chase these people down.”
To ensure doors are locked, Radcliff Police spokesman Bryce Shumate encouraged vehicle owners to double check doors after locking them.
“If I hear the horn honk, then I know for sure it’s locked,” he said.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or email@example.com.