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Police: Dover thieves stole cars simply because they could

Liz Evans Scolforo

Two vehicles stolen overnight Tuesday in Dover Township likely would not have been taken if keys had not been left in easy reach of the thieves, police said.

"Crimes of opportunity," Lt. David Lash said of the thefts.

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Northern York County Regional Police believe the two vehicle thefts happened because thieves, who were rummaging through unlocked cars in the neighborhood to steal valuables, happened upon car keys, meaning the opportunity to steal the vehicles simply presented itself.

"It's definitely the same people," Lash said.

Both unlocked vehicles were stolen from the 2600 block of Victorian Drive, but they are owned by different people, police said.

No safe zones: Thieves usually target unlocked vehicles, and living in a "nice" neighborhood doesn't exempt someone from becoming a crime victim.

"These crimes of opportunity can happen in any community and in any neighborhood. It's a widespread problem that doesn't have geographic boundaries," Lash said. "To best protect yourself, make sure your doors are locked and your keys are taken out of your vehicle."

Police received a couple of reports of thefts of items from vehicles overnight Monday not far from Victorian Drive, the lieutenant said.

Thieves who go through unlocked vehicles are generally looking to steal cellphones, laptops, other electronics, cash, car chargers, backpacks and even firearms, he said.

"Very rarely do we have (locked) vehicles that are actually broken into," Lash said, and he estimated 85 percent to 90 percent of vehicles targeted by thieves are unlocked.

Lock 'em up: He urged people not only to lock their vehicles and homes but to remove valuables from their vehicles so thieves aren't tempted to break inside.

Lash also asked people to call police if they find someone has searched inside their cars, even if nothing was taken.

"If people don't report those instances to us, we don't know that problem is happening in that neighborhood," he said. "We encourage everyone to report (crimes) immediately."

Between 10 p.m. Monday and 2:25 a.m. Tuesday, a 2012 silver Volkswagen Jetta was stolen from its driveway. The key fob for the car's push-button ignition had been left inside, Lash said.

Between 9:30 p.m. Monday and 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, a 2012 dark gray Toyota Sienna minivan was stolen from its driveway. Police said the key to the minivan had been left in another unlocked vehicle at the same home. The Sienna has several stickers on it related to scouting, police said.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call Northern Regional Police at (717) 292.3647, or leave a tip online at

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.