Chief: Thief targeting unlocked cars in Mount Wolf/Manchester area
Leaving the doors of your parked vehicle unlocked amounts to an invitation to thieves, according to Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo, who said there's been a spate of such thefts in Mount Wolf, Manchester borough and East Manchester Township.
"It's been over the past three weeks," Rizzo told The York Dispatch on Monday. "We've had about 10 or 15 in our area."
All of the vehicles were left unlocked by their owners, he said.
Rizzo said investigators believe the same man is also responsible for thefts from vehicles in Newberry Township and in the coverage area of Northern York County Regional Police.
One firearm has been stolen so far, the chief said, as have purses, wallets, a laptop computer and lottery tickets.
"Be a responsible gun owner," Rizzo said. "Don't keep guns in your vehicle."
The easy way: As is typical, the thief or thieves walk around neighborhoods at night and check car doors to see which are unlocked, according to Rizzo.
"It's easier that way," he said. "If they smash windows, it makes noise and draws attention."
He said it's rare for such opportunistic thieves to break car windows — unless they spot something of value inside.
"I can't remember the last time we had that happen," Rizzo said.
Northeastern Regional Police generally sees a spate of such thefts in September and October, as well as in the spring, according to the chief.
And at least once a year, Rizzo urges people to lock their parked vehicles and not to leave valuables inside them, he said.
Asked why so many people continue to ignore both those warnings, the chief said he suspects it's because they feel safe in their neighborhoods.
"People don't always know what's going on in their area," he said. "They don't think it's going to happen to them. I say that in this day and age, you have to lock everything up."
An invitation: Leaving car doors unlocked is "an invitation for people to take your property," Rizzo warned.
Northern York County Regional Police Chief Dave Lash also urged residents to lock their doors and vehicles and said his investigators suspect the thief is working in municipalities both in and out of Northern Regional's coverage area.
Lash said there have been a dozen or so thefts from unlocked vehicles in Conewago Township, Dover borough, Dover Township and Manchester Township.
The thief is in his late teens or early 20s, according to police, and he might not be working alone.
Anyone with information about the thief's identity can call Northeastern Regional Police at 717-266-6195.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.