Two arrested for Chesterfield rash of car break-ins

CHESTERFIELD, VA - (WWBT) - Police in Chesterfield have caught two men they think are behind a recent rash of thefts from cars.

20 year-old Cameron Smith-Martin and 21 year-old Keith Pettiford had more than a dozen stolen GPS units on them when police arrested them last week.

Many of the people that lost items during the string of break-ins left their cars unlocked.

Police say these two men were "car-hopping".  They went from car to car in several different neighborhoods, seeing how much they could get away with.

Karen McCormick strayed from her usual routine several weeks ago and ended up losing an mp3 player and a GPS unit.

"I was in a rush the night before and didn't even think about it," she said.  "I didn't even lock my car up. Normally, I don't give it too much thought, but I do it out of habit."

Karen wasn't alone. About a dozen of her neighbors in the Deer Run area were also targeted when police say Smith-Martin and Pettiford went into dozens of unlocked cars in the neighborhood, taking GPS units, mp3 players, purses, cash and more.

"I thought some kids were going through my car," she said.  "Then I realized some stuff was missing so I figured someone actually broke into my car."

Now police are trying to get the stolen GPS units back to the rightful owners. If the owner wrote down the serial number, police can track them down that way, but if they didn't, police are simply hitting the 'go home' button and seeing which address pops up.

Lieutenant T. O. McCullough with Chesterfield Police says getting rid of that many GPS units would raise many red flags to a potential buyer.

"I don't know how they're getting rid of the property," he said.  "If they were pawning it or trying to get rid of it or selling it to people they knew but that led to why they had so many GPS units. I would imagine having that many would be tough to get rid of."

Now people like Karen are hoping they can get their stuff back.

"I was thinking about going out and purchasing a new one," McCormick said.  "Hopefully I can get mine back and I don't have to."

Richmond Police are also investigating Smith-Martin and Pettiford for some similar break-ins in the city but so far no charges have been filed.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.