CADILLAC — Thefts from vehicles in Cadillac have occurred less frequently in recent weeks, yet they are still being reported on a daily basis.
Cadillac Police Department Sgt. Jeffrey Izzard said the department received around 9-10 reports of thefts from vehicles every day from mid-August to the beginning of September.
Izzard said all the incidents involved vehicles that were unlocked and for the most part, the only thing missing out of the vehicles was loose change.
There also were reports of cell phones being taken but Izzard said most of the time, electronics and other items that can be tracked were left alone.
“(My husband) went to go to work and realized someone went through the entire center console,‘ said Ashley Annette Scungio-Brown following an incident in late August. “Everything was out and on the seats. Mine was locked right next to his and luckily he didn’t have anything in there besides his tools for work. Must have been looking for something specific.‘
The majority of incidents were reported to have occurred after 10 p.m. and before the victims awoke and got into their vehicles to go to work.
When police arrested an individual last week on suspicion of stealing from vehicles around town, there was a noticeable drop in similar larceny reports.
On Sept. 12, officers arrested a suspect with evidence tying that person to at least one theft, and that person was in possession of multiple other items believed to be stolen.
Through a press release sent to the media, police asked victims to come forward if they had items taken from their vehicles to determine if some of the items recovered from the suspect were indeed stolen.
In response to this announcement, Izzard said they received a number of calls from people who claimed to have property stolen from their vehicles and since that time, the number of thefts from vehicles has dropped, although they still receive 1-2 calls every day regarding similar types of larcenies.
There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to the crimes, as they’ve occurred basically in every area of the city, Izzard said.
When an incident occurs, Izzard said they try to get fingerprints from the scene but in many cases, all they get are smudges or fabric marks — an indication the culprit is wearing gloves.
It’s possible the thief or thieves could be teenagers going “car shopping,‘ as they call it, Izzard said. It’s also possible the thefts are being done by more experienced criminals, which is why they’re not taking the items that can be tracked.
Izzard said the rash of thefts is as bad as he’s seen in a long time; the last time there were this many incidents was around a decade ago, he said.
Fortunately, Izzard said residents can do one small thing to significantly reduce the chances their vehicle will be stolen from — lock their doors.
“That would definitely curtail this a lot,‘ Izzard said. “While it does happen on occasion, they tend not to break into cars that are locked.‘
“We would like to remind you to make certain you LOCK UP your vehicles and REMOVE the keys,‘ the police department said in a Facebook post on Aug. 17. “Also please take the time to take out of your vehicles — valuable items, purses, wallets and backpacks.‘
Cadillac Police Department Sgt. Nick Bertram said people should keep things locked up and if they have floodlights by their vehicles, it’s a good idea to make sure they are on and functioning, as people tend to commit these crimes in dark areas.
He said people should make sure their car alarms are armed and if something doesn’t sound or look right, call the police so they can catch someone in the act if possible.
If you notice anything suspicious or believe you are a victim of a crime you can report it to the Cadillac Police Department at (231) 775-3491.