Police: Thieves moving from city to city, breaking into cars around Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's been a busy month for thieves going from one city in Franklin County to another.

Andrew Herren woke up one morning to find his work van ransacked and $7000 in tools stolen.

“As soon as I opened up the door, all my cordless tools were gone,” says the Reynoldsburg resident.

“It’s a gut wrenching feeling,” says Herren, who showed CrimeTracker 10 the lock that was drilled out for the thieves to gain access.

“They clearly took their time.”

Reynoldsburg police say it’s common to see rashes of car break-ins spike in one part of town and then quiet down.

Columbus Police: Increase in car break-ins at Downtown parking garages

“Seems like they’ll hit an area of town, we’ll have several and they then move to another area of town,” says Officer Nikki Riley with the Reynoldsburg Division of Police. Officers responded to reports of 11 car break-ins during the weekend of September 17-18th.

Grove City Police put out an alert September 9th about cars getting broken into at city parks and sporting events.

“Most of these vehicles were unlocked and entered,” says Sgt. Rick Hardy. Lately, police say car break-ins are spiking in retail areas.

“In the retail areas, during lunch and dinner periods, we do receive reports of windows being broken and items removed, laptops, purses/bags,” Hardy adds while describing the smash and grabs.

Two weeks ago, Dublin police sent out a warning to people to keep their valuables locked up and out of plain sight. An increase in calls about car break-ins prompted the alert, and one apartment complex sent a letter to residents telling them about several smash-and-grab incidents.

“It's gotten so bad lately, you used to see a lock here, and on the back,” says Herren, showing where he installed locks on his work van.“But the lock assembly is like anything in life, if someone wants in it bad enough, they'll get in it.”

However, Crimetracker 10 found cities like Westerville and Gahanna reporting low numbers when it comes to car break-ins during the month of September. Police still caution people to simply be smart, and take their valuables with them.