Extra police patrols after car break-ins in the Fan

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - What's sitting in your car's front seat, right now? Even something as small as an I-pod can catch a crook's attention. Some people who live in the Fan are finding that out the hard way.

Eight cars have been broken into this month, including two in just the last couple of days. The crooks are either smashing their way in or checking car doors until they hit the jackpot. In each case, people left laptops, cell phones even cash in plain sight.

I caught up with Chi-Nam Pham as he hopped out of his car on West Grace Street where two days ago a crook pocketed an I-pod left out in the open in his neighbor's car.

(What do you have in there?) "My I-pod's in there," said Pham.

He didn't take it inside or hide it from wandering eyes.

(Do you ever worry someone's going to break in?) "Sometimes," said Pham.

At least eight cars parked in the Fan this November have been easy targets. Crooks walked away with laptops, I-pods, cameras and a wallet.

This even though the Fan has seen a 40% drop in thefts from cars from last year. But it's still part of a problem that also spans the Randolph and Byrd Park neighborhoods where there have been 18 car break-ins in just the last month.

"We have extra patrols in those areas it's gotten our attention," said Richmond Police Spokesman, Gene Lepley.

It can only get worse during the holiday shopping season, if you allow it. 

"When you head into the holiday season it's a busy time for people to shop. They leave gifts packages they've purchased in plain sight. Thieves know that," said Lepley.

Someone stole Lauren Fralin's purse from her car three years ago. Fralin admits she hasn't learned her lesson, with a laptop sitting in her car.

"It's convenience. I feel like I should be able to do that," said Fralin.

Extra patrols are planned in Richmond for the holiday shopping season which kicks off next week.

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