Lock your doors: Police respond to thousands of car break-ins

Over 3,000 car break ins in Central Virginia; Officials urge drivers to lock their doors

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It was a late night ride through the city that has Richmond police needing your help finding the driver.

The man lit up, enjoying a smoke, but police say that was after he stole a car on Forest Hill Avenue. Officers found it hours later abandoned on Broad Rock Boulevard.

“No telling how many officers he passed on the way to south side because he was very calm. He drove the car like it was his car,” Captain Marty Harrison with the Richmond Police Department said.

What made it so easy? The owner left the doors unlocked and the key fob inside.

“In the early part of the year, we were averaging 25-30 thefts from motor vehicle a week,” Harrison said.

No matter how many warning police issue, it still happens. And it’s not just a Richmond problem. Unlocked cars have been pilfered across central Virginia.

Security footage from Home Depot in Chester shows another case.

“There was another van in the parking lot. After the workers left they, opened the van and stole the tools,” Chesterfield criminal investigator Gary Bailey said.

Just like many other cases, the doors were left unlocked making it easy for the thieves to have access to those pricey tools.

“They watch the area, they watch the habits. They watch the habits of police officers,” Harrison said.

So far this year there have been 1,757 thefts from vehicles in Richmond. Among the thefts were 183 guns stolen from inside the vehicles.

In Chesterfield, 1,254 unlocked vehicles were robbed, and 354 vehicles were outright stolen. In the Richmond, you can almost double that number - 636 so far this year.

Unlocked doors were partly to blame in most of those cases.

For police, the answer is simple: “Love it. Lock it. Lose it,” Harrison said.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.