POWELL, Ohio — Authorities in Delaware County are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins and thefts overnight between Powell and Liberty Township.
Detective Darren Smith, with the Powell Police Department, said they received about 17 reports of stolen items or vehicles within 24 hours.
Several home security cameras caught suspects getting inside unlocked cars and looking through compartments inside.
Smith said about seven or eight cars were reported stolen, and at least two of them were already recovered by police. In both of those instances, the keys had been left inside the cars.
"This is the most I've seen in years,” Smith said.
Other reports claim credit cards and hundreds of dollars of cash were stolen.
Smith said many people who gained access to cars in driveways were then able to use remote controls to open garage doors and access the cars and valuables inside.
"If you're going to bed, double check, make sure your garage door is shut, and if you're on vacation obviously notify a neighbor, put a simply safe camera in your garage so you can pull it up on your phone so you can see the garage door shut wherever you're at,” Smith said.
"You never think that its gonna happen to you but then it does and it just makes you pause,” Powell resident Shay Kasraei said.
Kasraei said Powell police knocked on her door around 1 a.m. Monday morning to tell her a car in her driveway that belonged to her mother had been broken into.
"They had left the door open to her car which is what indicated to police that someone had broken in,” Kasraei said.
Kasraei said several of her neighbors were also hit, but the crime didn’t stop there. The thieves used a remote control to then get inside her garage.
"My sister when she heard the garage door. She thought that my mom was taking our dog outside,” Kasraei said.
But it was the thieves gaining access to Kasraei’s unlocked car.
"They did take my fanny pack, they got a couple credit cards that they've already utilized, a couple hundred dollars worth of cash,” Kasraei said.
Smith said he and other detectives are using footage recovered from outdoor security cameras in the neighborhoods affected to help track down several suspects who they believe to be juveniles.
Although Kasraei said her mother’s car in her driveway was locked, Smith said most of the cars affected were not.
"We're asking everybody to lock up your valuables, to take them out, lock your cars, and take your key fobs out of the vehicles,” Smith said.
While cars, credit cards, and cash can all be replaced, there are some things you can’t put a price on.
"My dad passed away in 2019 and it was his necklace that I wear,” Kasraei said.
Kasraei said the necklace spells out her father’s name, Ali, in Farsi. It was in the fanny pack stolen from her car, and it’s the only thing she cares about getting back… a message she hopes reaches the person who stole it.
"Even if you want to, you know, drop it in my mailbox or whatever, I would gladly take that back and would appreciate it because it’s not going to have any value to anyone else,” Kasraei said.
Anyone with information about these incidents or with videos from their outdoor security cameras or doorbell cameras that looks suspicious is asked to contact Powell police.