Most auto burglars are simply checking for unlocked vehicles, according to MPD.

 

Car burglaries have been happening across the city, mostly in the Cobblestone Farms area.

In the past week, eight car burglaries have occurred in the Cobblestone area and three vehicles were stolen in other parts of the city.

“At the beginning of the year, we had 48 vehicle burglaries,” said Maricopa Police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado. “These criminals are going around and checking for unlocked vehicles. Once they find one that’s unlocked, they go through it and take whatever is in the vehicle. In the past, they have taken anything from laptops, wallets, loose change, cellphone chargers, GPS units and stuff like that.”

Alvarado said in the latest string of burglaries in Cobblestone, police do have video footage of the suspects trying to open cars without succeeding.

“They’re trying to see if vehicles are locked or unlocked. In the video, they’re simply checking the door and if it’s locked, they just move on to the next vehicle, until they find a target of opportunity,” he said.

Alvarado said nightly at 9 p.m. police use social media to remind people to lock their car and house doors, turn on their outdoor lights and remove any valuables from their vehicles.

“It is a good thing that we’ve gone from 48 at the beginning of the year to six or seven. It’s simply people not locking their doors,” he said.

There have been three vehicles stolen in the past week.

“We’ve had vehicles taken out of here,” Alvarado said. “We haven’t been able to determine if these doors were locked or unlocked. Many of them are Ford pickup trucks. Those are taken frequently, Valley-wide, because of their popularity and ease to be stolen when it comes to their interlock device of their ignition.”

Generally stolen vehicles are recovered within 24 hours.

“Most of them have been recovered to the north of us on the Gila River Indian community,” Alvarado said. “There have been some that have been burned. Some have been vandalized and some have been stripped. There haven’t been any that have been missing long term.”

Two forcible house break-ins occurred in Maricopa on Feb. 15.

One family had their side door on their garage pried open in Desert Cedars while they were away for a little more than an hour. Burglars rummaged through the home and stole guns and jewelry.

One other house was also burglarized but the owner lives out of town and it was unknown what items may have been taken.

“We had a couple other occasions where we’ve had criminal damage to rear sliding glass doors,” he said. “Some of it’s been crimes of opportunities, and at least one of them is the first forced entry burglary. We don’t know why these residents are being targeted.”

Alvarado said police are seeking surveillance camera video in the area and are urging people to register their cameras in their block watch program.

“We try to get everyone to know their neighbors and if you see something, say something,” Alvarado said.

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