Clusters of car break-ins are a sign of a growing epidemic

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People living in a north Worthington neighborhood say car break-ins are pretty ‘seasonal.’

“What we try to do is keep garage doors closed, and keep doors locked, but more importantly, nothing in cars that can be stolen of value,” says Andrew Pees, who has lived along Middlebury Drive since 2012.

Pees says he wasn’t surprised to hear about three of his neighbors who had cars broken into during the week of September 11th.

“Some people in the neighborhood reported seeing people being dropped off in the middle of the night and then migrating down the street with almost a similar fashion to people collecting money for legitimate things, but in this case, not legit,” Pees adds.

Lt. Jennifer Wuertz with Worthington Police tells Crimetracker 10 thieves have the advantage of nighttime to cover their tracks. She also says if you are the victim of a car break-in, it’s most likely your neighbors are too since thieves tend to hit up neighborhoods one at a time.

CrimeTracker 10 uncovered clusters of car break-ins in recent weeks throughout suburbs surrounding I-270. Along with Worthington, police reports show clusters along Schull Road in Gahanna, Hayden Lofts in Dublin, and a Grove City apartment complex just south of Clime Road near Demorest Avenue.

Gahanna Deputy Chief of Police Jeff Spence says his city is seeing a significant number of thefts from vehicles in residential neighborhoods during the late night/early morning hours.

“In nearly all cases, vehicles are entered through unlocked doors,” Dep. Chief Spence tells Crimetracker 10. Spence says despite media stories and police alerts advising people to not leave valuables behind in plain sight in their cars, “the crimes continue unabated.” Spence believes more needs to be done to get a bigger perspective on what he described as an “epidemic.”

Police say the key to catching these criminals in the act are for people to report anything suspicious the moment they spot it.

“Too often we get a call the next day from someone saying they didn’t want to bother us,” says Lt. Wuertz. “The faster people call us, the better chances we have of catching.”

Pees says the response time from Worthington Police is fast, but “unfortunately, by the time they get here though, minutes later, everybody is gone.”