Police report rise in thefts from vehicles

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Three local police departments are reporting an increase in thefts from vehicles
  • Thieves are getting away with everything from loose change to guns.
  • Owners are reminded to use caution, stay aware and lock their vehicles.

Three local police departments have reported increases in thefts from vehicles, and officials are echoing the same sentiment: Keep your cars locked.

Thieves are taking everything from loose change and purses to guns.

York City Police, West Manchester Township Police and Spring Garden Township Police have all reported  increases in thefts from cars — especially cars that are unlocked — over the past few weeks.

Thefts: Spring Garden Township Police Chief George Swartz said the department began to see the uptick in May.

West Manchester Township Police Detective Sgt. Jeff Snell said his department has seen an increase over the past six months. Both departments said the main thing thieves are looking for is the opportunity provided by unlocked vehicles.

“What we’re seeing is … the majority, if not all, of our thefts are from vehicles that are unlocked,” Swartz said.

Swartz and Snell said the thefts usually take place overnight.

In Spring Garden Township, Swartz said the Elmwood and  Strathcona Hills neighborhoods have seen an increase in thefts.

In West Manchester Township, Snell said the Honey Run, Quail Heights, Lexington Meadows and Dunedin neighborhoods have seen a rise.

York City Police sent out a release on Wednesday regarding the thefts, indicating that the items that are being taken seem to be in the vehicle in plain sight. York City Police could not be reached for comment.

What to do: Snell and Swartz stressed that people should lock their cars. In addition to that, police are asking people to stay vigilant and aware of who is in their neighborhoods. Because of the items being stolen, police ask car owners to use caution.

Snell said in some cases guns have been stolen from cars. He warned people to not approach anyone who might be taking things from their cars. Instead, he asked them to call police.

“I don’t want to see a homeowner being shot,” he said.

Snell urged people not to keep guns in their vehicles.

Rings: Snell said he believes there are rings of individuals targeting neighborhoods for thefts.

“It’s like little rings that are working and supplementing their income,” he said.

“It is not uncommon for us to take between seven and 10 complaints in a morning from a neighborhood that was targeted,” Snell said.

Swartz said the Spring Garden Township Police department is investigating thefts, and it is possible they are connected.

“We’re not ruling that out,” he said.

All departments are cooperating on the investigation, he said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.