PICKERINGTON, Ohio — It’s been 445 days, but Kaylee McReynolds’s father is still with her.
“His jacket, his bracelet,” she said, looking over her father’s items she is wearing. “I’m wearing his boot socks. I don’t know, you can’t put it into words. It just hurts.”
Terry McReynolds, the “Papaw” to Kaylee’s three children, passed away in October 2021 from COVID.
Then, Thursday, another blow.
“Everything that was in it is all over my front seats,” she said.
After picking up a shift at her second job, she noticed someone had gone through her car. The only thing that was stolen was her wallet, which means nothing, and a collection of pictures that means the world.
“The little keychain and the keychain that was on it are both from my dad who is no longer here,” she said.
She has not yet filed a report with Pickerington Police.
Since Dec. 1, Pickerington PD say there have been 13 incidents involving 19 vehicle break-ins. Of those, 13 were unlocked and six were locked, where thieves broke-in.
“I would say 99% of the time if the door is locked, [thieves] are passing that car and moving on to the next one,” Pickerington Police Det. Shawn Mikicic said.
Det. Mikicic says in recent weeks vehicles have been targeted in the back lots at seven local businesses. He says if thieves see something valuable in a locked car, they break a window. If it’s unlocked, they mostly take change and bills, but often leave behind cell phones and credit cards because of how they can be tracked.
“Criminals are definitely catching on to what law enforcement utilize, the tactics we use, technology we use,” Mikicic said. “They’re catching on to that and they’re finding ways to get around getting caught.”
“My car was not locked,” McReynolds said.
McReynolds knows many people are quick to point blame at those who leave doors unlocked. She’s hoping the indecency of one will lead to the decency of someone else, while hoping to not go one more day without her prized possession.
“You don’t put it into words,” she said. “I just pray that somebody has enough decency and heart to return it if it’s found.”
Mikicic says there are leads the department is following up on concerning the break-ins and they have a suspect vehicle they believe has been involved in at least a couple of the incidents, however they are not releasing information or surveillance video at this time.
Mikicic also says the best ways to avoid having your car broken into is to trust your instincts and be mindful of where you park and the lighting surrounding your vehicle. Also, he says to keep valuables out of your vehicle and leave it locked. Last, he says if you see anything suspicious to call police, saying many times a show of police presence is a strong deterrent for criminals.