Police said on Thursday that they had arrested two people in connection with stealing pool patrons’ belongings.
Westerville police said that Highland Park Aquatic Center patrons’ valuables were stolen from vehicles or from the pool itself, 10TV’s Kevin Landers reported.
Kim Mastrell said that she only brings the essentials when coming to the pool, 10TV’s Kevin Landers reported.
“I don’t bring anything; I leave it at home,” Mastrell said.
According to the mother of two, leaving items at home was her best defense against becoming a victim of thieves.
“I just do it because I’ve learned not to trust other people,” Mastrell said. “It’s sad, but that’s how we’ve been doing it.”
Police said that they wished more people would think the same way.
Officers said that they found cars with purses in plain view, which they said was helping to drive up crime.
“They feel it’s safe and secure to just kind of tuck it under a blanket or a towel and then go into the pool or go about their business and watch their children,” said Joe Morbitzer Westerville Chief of Police. “That’s not a secure means to store their electronic devices.”
Since May 28, six people have reported iPods, an iPod Touch, purses, credit cards, iPhones, clothes and cash stolen from the area around the aquatic center, located at 245 S. Spring Rd.
“You’ve got to look in the eyes of the criminal,” Morbitzer said. “When I am watching you, what do you expect? What patterns are you setting when you do that? I can establish what I want to do to steal your property.”
Kristi King said that she keeps these things in mind to avoid becoming a victim, Landers reported.
“Things that I haven’t taken out of my car, I put in the back where no one can get it,” King said.
Officers were patrolling the aquatic center parking lot and looking in cars to see if people were leaving valuables in plain view. They are sending notices to owners to warn them to protect their belongings.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.