Police in Lamorinda say that car thieves and auto burglars continue to cycle through the area as residents persist in leaving valuable items in plain sight in their cars or the car unlocked entirely. In several instances, unfortunate homeowners have lost valuables, $20,000 cash – or their car – sometimes in just 15 minutes or less.
And police say we continue to make it easy for the bad guys.
Lafayette police have been doubly watchful in recent weeks after an uptick in car burglaries in neighboring jurisdictions prompted a “oh oh, here it comes” reaction in their city – followed predictably by a spate of break-ins and outright car thefts. The crimes are almost cyclical, police say, as one thief responsible for a series of burglaries or car thefts is caught – another steps in to take his, or her, place.
The most recent wave of auto-related thievery occurred in the area of Old Tunnel Road on the eastern tip of the city between 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 8 a.m. on Feb. 2 – all believed to have been carried out by the same group of individuals, according to police. The crimes include auto burglaries, auto thefts, and petty thefts from vehicles in the neighborhoods (see map).
Officers are actively investigating the thefts, one of which involved the theft of a Volkswagen Jetta stolen in the span of 15 minutes from the former owner’s front driveway. In other cases thieves smashed a window to access a guitar and, in another instance, used a car’s garage door opener to access the garage and steal items there. They say additional victims may be forthcoming. They also are asking anyone who may have seen someone suspicious in the area – or captured their image on a household surveillance camera – to contact them.
“Leaving valuable property in your car at night is like leaving your picnic basket on the table in a campground,” Lafayette police warned. “You are going to attract the BEARS. Once they start to feed in an area, they are going to come back. Last weekend a visitor to the city had $20,000 in cash stolen from their car. That’s going to bring the bears back!”
Obviously, police are cautioning people against leaving valuable electric guitars, company laptops, expensive handbags and wallets in plain sight in their cars and the cars unlocked. Take your keys with you and if you leave your car outdoors, take the garage door opener with you, too.