Crime Watch: Opelika police combat car break-ins - WRBL

Crime Watch: Opelika police combat car break-ins

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OPELIKA, Ala. -

Car burglars are on the prowl in Opelika, but Police Chief John McEachern is fighting back.

In one week there have been four different incidents of car break-ins, and the trend has been growing over the past months.

Summer is fast approaching and that's prime time for thieves.

Nestled along I-85, Opelika certainly see its share of folks passing through. Chief McEachern says that's one reason why stolen items wind up both near and far.

"They may show up in local pawn shops," he says, "whether they would be pawn shops here in Opelika/Auburn area, possibly over in the Phenix City/Columbus, Ga. Area, maybe up in LaGrange, Ga. We're able to track some of these stolen items by way of the serial number."

His detectives have been busy lately tracking down electronics and other valuables taken from unattended cars, but he says they couldn't do it without the help of neighboring agencies. "It's a tremendous exchange of information, and we're able to compare notes and compare details from these burglaries, and sometimes we're fortunate that we are able to gather a good bit of physical evidence," he says.

While there's no pattern to the break-ins, McEachern says Opelika citizens make themselves easy targets when they leave their cars unlocked.

"It only takes a matter of seconds," says McEachern, "actually less than a minute for an individual to open a door and reach in and grab something. That's why we urge everyone, if you're going to leave valuables in an automobile, lock them in the trunk or at least lock the doors and try to keep things out of sight."

He says although many of the items are recoverable when the thieves try to sell them, it's always better to take that extra step in security. McEachern says if you see any suspicious characters loitering in parking lots or in your neighborhood, call the authorities right away.

Nearly 1/4 of car burglaries happen when the vehicle is unlocked.

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