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Thieves make for long hot summer

Since June police have looked into some 50 reports of thefts from vehicles. With September here the problem hasn't let up.

"This is clearly a rash of thefts that is out of the norm," Police Chief Roger Leque said. "We're investigating each one and are looking at persons of interest."

Most, but not all, thefts were to vehicles whose owners left doors unlocked. A list of stolen items includes:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) devices; cell phones; iPods; wallets and purses; cash and coins; prescription medications; tool kits; sunglasses; athletic equipment; radar detectors; binoculars; and CD players.

Leque emphasized that his advice -- the same as always -- is one that people often ignore until they're victims.

"Lock your vehicles! Park in a well-lit area! Do not leave valuables in your vehicle!" he said. "If you're traveling or visiting and must leave valuables in your car, keep them in your trunk. When they sit out in plain sight, they become a target for someone to commit a quick, easy crime."

Leque added that neighbors, all citizens, should be alert to suspicious activity, "such as persons checking cars by looking in windows...going into a car, rummaging around and then leaving."

Those who see anything like that occurring should act fast by calling police at 425-0909 or 911.

"A delay in reporting minimizes a successful law-enforcement response," Leque said. "If you spot suspicious activity, please be the best possible witness. Obtain descriptions of persons and vehicles, license plate numbers, direction of travel, etc.

"Also, be cognizant of persons trying to sell these items at minimal costs, or, if you notice someone having multiple items and no reasonable explanation where they came from."

For the complete story, please check out the Sept. 2 print edition of the River Falls Journal.