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Car burglars continue break-ins

RCMP say thefts are ongoing problem and that many go unreported

Red Deer Mounties continue to receive numerous calls a day from citizens whose vehicles have been victimized by burglars.

“This is an ongoing problem and we are concerned about it,” said Red Deer city RCMP Cpl. Kathe DeHeer. “These are just the incidents reported to us, and we know there are at least as many that go unreported.”

Red Deer city RCMP have arrested and charged several individuals in the past few weeks.

On Aug. 25, police nabbed four youths in the Inglewood neighbourhood after receiving a complaint of suspicious activity.

Concerned citizens observed a suspicious vehicle in the area and noticed four people going from vehicle to vehicle and appeared to be checking to see if the vehicles were locked. Several citizens called police with descriptions and locations of the four males.

A Red Deer City RCMP Police dog team was dispatched to the area and located two of the four persons, a third person was arrested in a nearby alley, and a fourth person was later arrested at his residence.

Police determined that the vehicle the four were driving had been stolen on Aug. 24 from a residence in Red Deer.

Police have charged four males – a 14-year old, two 16-year-olds, and a 17-year-old, all of Red Deer – with one count of mischief to property and one count of possession of stolen property. They can not be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. All four were released to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Sept. 30.

RCMP said in most cases the vehicle break and enter culprits admit they go around and look for unlocked vehicles, or vehicles that have valuables visible inside.

DeHeer said this makes these crimes of opportunity, adding if citizens leave their vehicles unlocked or valuables in plain sight it makes vehicles an easy target for thieves.

She said some of the more common property thieves are targeting are laptop computers, ipods, wallets and purses, navigation systems, cell phones, and garage door openers.

“A simple thing like a social insurance card and operator’s license in the hands of the wrong person can be disastrous,” DeHeer warns. “There is enough information on those two pieces of identification for someone to steal your identity. Under no circumstances should you leave your purse or wallet in your vehicle.”

She said garage door openers are being used to gain entry into residences.

“Do not keep your garage door in plain view. A lot of people leave their garage door openers on their visor in plain sight of would be thieves,” said DeHeer. “If possible keep your garage door opener with you and do not leave it in your vehicle. As double insurance make sure you lock the man door between the garage and the house, this will prevent someone from entering your house if they have gained entry into the garage.”

She advises citizens that to avoid thieves from stealing belongings they should lock doors, remove anything of value, and place an “All Valuables Removed” placard in their vehicle windows.

The placards can be picked up at either Red Deer city RCMP detachments, the Red Deer AMA Office, or it can be downloaded and printed from the AMA website at

www.ama.ab.ca/cps/rde/xchg/ama/web/advocacy_safety_vehicletheftplacard-9698.htm

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