Locked-car burglaries worry residents

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — A handful of residents in the North Highland Square neighborhood were recently the victims of a series of car burglaries.

It’s normally a quiet neighborhood, but shortly after midnight on Monday, vandals targeted several cars in the 100 block of St. Louis Avenue. Two residents told 13 News their cars were broken into even though they were locked.

“What they’re doing is popping a hole under the door handle, almost like a cut to try and pry the door handle open,” resident Isaac Almaraz says.

He says the thieves ripped out his stereo system and caused more than $1,000.00 worth of damage. Almaraz wasn’t even the only victim on his street.

Just next door, Almaraz’s neighbor, Bill Edmundson, says his car also was damaged from the same crime.

“My door lock had actually been punched out,” Edmundson says.

Luckily for Edmundson though, the criminals weren’t able to steal anything from inside the car, but they did cause quite a bit of damage.

At least one other person on James Avenue complained of the similar break-in technique to their car, but Rockford Police told 13 News its only had one official complaint that’s been filed, at the time this article was written, and that’s a problem.

“When we do solve it and you try and track all the incidents that have occurred, the offender may say they did vehicle burglaries in this area, this area and this area, but we don’t have reports to match up to that,” Lt. Kurt Whisenand explains. “The victim never knows the crime has been solved because they never reported it.”

Lt. Whisenand says the majority of break-ins tend to involve breaking a window to get in as opposed to disabling the lock. He says there are three keys for neighbors: one is to stay vigilant by taking all valuables out of the car or moving them away from the line of sight, secondly, park your car under a light and third, keep an eye out for any suspicious people in the area.

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