Unlocked cars targeted

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Close to 20 cars known to have been hit

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

A string of thefts from motor vehicles in town — including a stolen gun — has the Smithfield Police Department urging citizens to lock their car doors. 

Police suspect a group of individuals, rather than a lone person, may be behind the crimes. 

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Two of the thefts, however, were forced entry resulting in broken car windows, according to Smithfield Deputy Police Chief Matthew Rogers. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

James LeBlanc with Ferguson Automotive said that his Jeep Grand Cherokee was robbed between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday after his girlfriend parked it at the gravel lot at Windsor Castle Park across from Smithfield Station during an outing with their two kids. 

The passenger rear window was shattered and his girlfriend’s purse was stolen, containing spare keys, her driver’s license and debit, credit and insurance cards, among other items. 

LeBlanc said that he has to rekey the Jeep and even his house now, since the driver’s license stolen has their address on it, and that his girlfriend was so shaken up by the robbery that he has to install additional security lights and cameras at their property. 

LeBlanc said that the Smithfield Police were looking at video footage provided by Smithfield Station and that the break-in seemed calculated, since whoever it was hadn’t rifled through the car at all and had broken into the window closest to his girlfriend’s purse in the backseat. 

Rogers also confirmed that a 2017 Lexus had its rear passenger window shattered and a satchel-style cooler lifted from the vehicle at the gravel lot at about the same time as the Jeep break-in. 

The two broken windows resulted in a total of $650 in damages, said Rogers. 

Rogers said that the department conducted a crime analysis on the data, and officers suspect that a dark-colored SUV is associated with the thefts, and that the crimes are being committed by a group as opposed to an individual. 

According to Rogers, the Smithfield Police Department has received roughly 20 reports on cars being tampered with, several of them resulting in thefts, since July 1. 

A Lorcin 380-caliber handgun valued at $100 was reported stolen from a vehicle parked at Cedar Street Apartments on Aug. 4, according to Rogers.     

A report from the Smithfield Police Department states that the gun was reported stolen at 10:09 p.m. 

After the firearm was reported stolen, Rogers said that its make, model and serial number were entered into state and national law enforcement databases that will indicate if the firearm is reported found in Virginia or another state. 

The databases are the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) said Rogers.

A designer wallet, a heart-shaped ring plus some change, at a combined value of $350, were reported stolen from an SUV on the 200 block of Cary Street on Aug. 7, according to Rogers. 

A police report states that the suspected theft took place between 11 p.m. on Aug. 6 and 10:17 a.m. on Aug. 7. According to Rogers, the vehicle owner said that the vehicle was left unlocked. 

Residents in the 100 block of Cary Street have also noticed their cars had been rifled through over the summer. 

Theft from another vehicle — a Toyota Tacoma located on the 100 block of Institute Street — was reported on Aug. 7. A pocketbook containing Kate Spade sunglasses, with a combined value of $150, were taken, said Rogers, adding that the victim believes she locked her car but wasn’t sure and that there wasn’t any damage to the vehicle. 

Another theft took place between 7 p.m. on Aug. 6 and 3 p.m. on Aug. 7, according to a report from the Smithfield Police Department. 

Police confirmed cars being tampered with on Lumar Road, James View Circle, Edgewood Drive, Jefferson Drive, Gullane off Cypress Creek Parkway and at the Smithfield Station parking lot within the last week.  

A Grimesland neighborhood resident wrote online on Aug. 15 that she’d had her purse stolen from her vehicle the night before while she was inside. That neighborhood is located on the west side of South Church Street. 

One resident said she and her boyfriend’s vehicles were tampered with in the Moonefield Drive area the night of Aug. 14, with $24 in cash stolen from the two vehicles.  

A resident of Smithfield’s historic district said that he’d had been robbed of some money left in the center console of his vehicle on Aug. 14.    

These instances have been reported to the police, according to the victims.

In the summertime, children are out of school and there’s more foot traffic along town streets, and sometimes people go around and jiggle car door handles to see if cars are unlocked, and go from there, said Rogers. 

“Lock your doors,” said Rogers, “even if you’re just going into the house for a few minutes.”  {/mprestriction}