LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – According to Mark Cavender, the Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigations Section of LaGrange PD, property crime in LaGrange is down year-to-date however, car thefts and entering autos are up in the last few weeks.

There were two auto thefts in LaGrange this time last year but this year there have already been four. 

“The trend that we’re seeing here is people pulling up to gas stations, service stations, leaving their cars running, running into the store for whatever reason, coming back and their car is gone,” said Lt. Cavender. 

He said cars with personal belongings like money, guns and cell phones left in plain sight are targeted the most as well as cars that are left unlocked. 

Lt. Cavender said he often sees juveniles in the teens entering autos illegally. He said juveniles are also often responsible for auto thefts but it is more common among young adults in their twenties. 

He credits the uptick in the property crimes to summer break and the hot weather and people not wanting to walk. 

“If somebody’s out that’s up to no good and you create an easy target for them then you become a victim of opportunity. They see that opportunity and next thing you know, your car is gone, personal belongings, cell phone are gone,” said Lt. Cavender. 

The police department has increased patrol in the areas that are commonly seeing these kinds of crimes like neighborhoods and convenience store parking lots.