String of car larcenies has neighborhood on edge

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Police are investigating a string of car break-ins that happened in two separate neighborhoods.

The first of the break-ins happened near North Gaskins and Derbyshire Roads.

The others near Springfield Road and Argonne Drive in Glen Allen.

So far, police are investigating 26 separate break-ins that were discovered early Saturday morning.

Thieves stole everything from lap tops and GPS units to cigarettes and pocket change.

The common thread in the crimes: the majority of the cars were left unlocked.

They are quiet suburban neighborhoods where cars are parked in the driveway, not locked in the garage.

Vehicles are left on the streets overnight.

"We feel very safe living here," said larceny victim Kay Henry. "It is a calm neighborhood. There are often times when we leave our doors unlocked, our cars unlocked, most every night."

Saturday morning the calm of Branway Drive that the Henry's have come to love was disrupted by a knock at the door.

"We peeked out and saw a police officer," she said. "A mother's worst thought is a police officer at your door and he let us know it appeared that our car had been broken into."

Kay Henry and her husband walked outside to find a bizarre scene.

Sometime between midnight and 5:00 a.m. bandits hit twenty cars.

"I had a wallet that I usually keep coupons in," she said. "It was laying all over the ground and a sewing kit. They had been through our glove box and searched all through the car."

About five miles up Gaskins Road, another rash.

Thieves targeted another neighborhood off Springfield Road.

This time, they got into six cars.

In both neighborhoods the crooks' wish list was long.

They took DVD players, cameras, a purse, even a tennis racquet.

As the suspects are still on the loose, the Henry's are now thinking about changing their behavior -- locking the doors and adding extra lighting.

"It's awful," said Julia Henry. "I mean, that's your stuff. It's your private things. It's just unsecure."

"We feel very violated that actual crime is actually in our driveway it makes you feel very frightened," said Kay.

Police say they are looking into whether the Friday night incidents might be connected with other recent car break-ins Henrico and the surrounding areas have seen.

If you have any information that could help police, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.