Burglars target unlocked cars

What do a Ford Escape, a Honda CRV, a Hyundai Sonata and a Mazda Miata have in common?

According to police, one of each were each burglarized in Ashland during the past week. Another commonality: they were all unlocked.

"People have to lock their cars," said Sgt. Jim Alderman. "They may as well have a sign on them that says, 'steal me.'"

Seven cars, at locations all over Ashland, were broken into during the past week, Alderman said. Each happened in the early morning hours, when Alderman says this type of crime, which police call car clouts, tend to happen.

"People walk around and look in vehicles," he said, noting that while on nighttime patrol, he has seen people testing door handles. "They'll grab anything that isn't bolted down."

One car, the Hyundai, was stolen from a carport on the 300 block of Taylor Street. Alderman said the car was unlocked and the keys were in the glove box.

The other vehicles weren't quite that unlucky. A radar detector was taken from the Ford on Williamson Way; an iPod and a backpack were taken from the Honda on California Street. Only an owner's manual was taken from the Mazda, but the thief ripped off the canvas convertible top to get at it, according to police reports. A car on the 400 block of Terrace Street had a cell phone and $160 sunglasses taken from it, and another iPod was taken from a car on the 100 block of California Street.

"iPods are a real typical thing to have stolen," Alderman said. "People are losing a lot of them." Although there has been more than the typical number of car clouts recently. Alderman stopped short of terming it an epidemic.

"I wouldn't consider it a rash," he said. "It will probably continue throughout the summer."

Ashland Police also don't suspect the crimes are related. "I wouldn't make that assumption," Alderman said. But he said there have probably been more thefts than have been reported. "For every one that gets reported there are probably one more that is not reported."

He said the easiest way to prevent this type of crime is to simply lock ones car doors at night. "Someone probably isn't going to break a window for an iPod," Alderman said.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 x. 226 or .

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