String of car break-ins reveals common car owner mistake

This car in Powell was broken into earlier this week (Bob Donnelly/WBNS-10TV)

POWELL -- In a span of five hours, thieves broke into 10 cars and stole a truck in an upscale neighborhood of Powell.

“This is very unusual just to happen in one night. We had a lot last night and it's very unusual for us,” said Powell Police Det. Darren Smith.

Smith said between midnight and 5 a.m. Tuesday, thieves went through the Golf Village Subdivision off Sawmill Parkway, looking for any valuables left in plain sight.

“It’s the opportunity,” Smith said. “They see something, they take it and they pawn it or get rid of it for pennies on the dollar.”

He went on to say: “It can happen anywhere at any time. If I see a laptop and I’m driving by and I’m a thief, I’m going to take it.”

Smith says it doesn’t help when car owners make the job easier for the criminals. CrimeTracker 10 learned eight of the cars broken into during the recent crime spike near Kinsale Golf Club were unlocked. Two cars had windows smashed. A red, GMC pickup truck with the Ohio license plate HAU8657 was stolen, but Smith said the owner left the keys inside the truck.

Last fall, CrimeTracker 10 uncovered a series of break-ins with cars left unlocked in Worthington, Gahanna, Dublin and north Columbus.

“My message to really, all of Columbus, is take your stuff out of your car,” Det. Smith said. “If you go in somewhere, don't leave your purse there, or laptop there.”

Smith said the same message goes for people who often leave bags in plain sight while they exercise.

“If you have a duffle bag, put it in your trunk,” he said. “People – the thieves -- think that's something and will break in your car and take it but it might just be your sneakers or clothes but they don't know that.”

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