Vehicle burglars target Genoa

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is investigating eight burglaries from unlocked vehicles in Genoa that occurred June 29-30.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jim Halsey said the burglaries occurred on Pioneer Trail, Kinsey Way, Reese Court, Genoa Highlands and Cloudburst Canyon.

Halsey said there were no suspects.

Stolen items included weapons, money, wallets, compact discs, sunglasses and electronic items including global positioning systems, iPods and cell phones.

The weapons included two firearms, a shotgun and a handgun. Halsey said the handgun was stolen from a vehicle. The shotgun was stolen from the garage after the suspects discovered the victim had left his keys in the vehicle. The suspect used the keys to unlock the side door to gain entry.

Secret Witness is offering a $500 reward. Anyone with information is asked to call investigations at 782-9905 or Secret Witness at 782-7463.

The sheriff's office offered several tips to prevent vehicle burglaries:

-- Don't leave valuables in your car, or place them out of sight or in the trunk.

-- Don't leave empty docking stations in sight. Even if you've taken the high-dollar electronic component with you, thieves will see the docking station and break into your vehicle to see if you did remove it. Few vehicle break-ins are random - the thieves usually see something valuable, or indications of possible hidden valuables. Remove loose change or compact disks.

-- If you have a stereo/CD player with a removable faceplate, take it. Without the faceplate, the unit is useless and impossible to pawn.

-- Park in your driveway or in a busy, well-lit area. Burglars prefer breaking into vehicles where they will not be observed or attract notice.

n Lock all the doors to your vehicle even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time.

"Every year, we have items stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner was only going to be gone 'for just a few seconds,'" Halsey said. "It only takes seconds to steal your stuff. It's not at all uncommon for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles and check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked. Don't leave any window open or even cracked open, including vent/wing windows and sunroofs."

He said dark, tinted windows don't protect valuables from thieves with flashlights.

-- Use your alarm or anti-theft device. Car alarms can be an effective deterrent to a vehicle burglar. Thieves want to work in secrecy, they do not want to attract attention, Halsey said.

Items most commonly stolen include backpacks, gym bags, briefcases, day-planners, cash and coins, checkbooks and credit/debit cards, wallets and purses even when hidden under a seat, in a center console or glove compartment.

Popular electronic items include laptop computers, iPods, MP3 players, docking stations, cell phones and chargers, portable global positioning navigation systems, stereo/CD players, amplifiers, speakers, jewelry, keys, and mail or vehicle registration paperwork for identity theft.

-- Record valuable electronic items.

"Write down the make, model and serial number of the items, and keep this list in a secure location in your home. Deputies will need this information if your items are ever stolen," he said.

The description and serial number are the only means to identify items if they are recovered after being stolen.

"If any of your valuable electronic items do not have a serial number, or have only a sticker containing the serial number, we suggest inscribing/engraving it with an identifying number," Halsey said. "Don't use your date of birth or Social Security number as it may lead to identity theft."

If your vehicle has been broken into, do not touch or adjust anything in it, on it, or around it, Halsey said. Call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office to report the incident.

Report suspicious activity to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at 782-5126, he said.


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