Criminals target unlocked cars in Cornelius
by Staff Writer
by Brian Carlton
CORNELIUS – Residents need to lock up to avoid a break-in. That’s the message elected officials and Cornelius police want to deliver in the wake of a series of thefts. Police have responded to 10 vehicle break-ins and searched for two stolen cars in town since April 1.
In each of the cases, owners left the doors unlocked, allowing thieves to grab what they want.
“We’re trying to stress to people the importance of locking your car door and taking all your valuables out,” Cornelius Police Lt. Jennifer Thompson said. “Even if the car is locked, if they look in and see an iPad, there’s nothing to keep someone from popping a window.”
Thompson said that residents often forget and leave items in the back seat where thieves can just walk up and grab them. It doesn’t help to hide them either, as empty accessories will also get a thief’s attention.
“Even if it’s an empty bag for a camera, that can attract attention,” Thompson said. “If there’s a bag, the possibility is pretty great for something else to be inside.”
That includes everything from a digital camera bag to a global positioning system mount.
“You know, as a kid, my dad used to leave the keys to the ignition in the pickup truck,” Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte said during the May 21 town board meeting. “People left their doors unlocked all the time. Unfortunately, societal norms have changed. I encourage everyone to make sure your garage doors are shut at night, and lock your cars.”
If the doors are locked and valuables taken out, there’s a good chance thieves will pass by the vehicle, Thompson said.
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Thompson said. “Chances are they won’t take time to break-in and search what looks like an empty car. They’ll move on to somewhere else.”
Call the Cornelius Police Department at 704-892-1363 to ask questions about keeping your possessions and vehicles safe.