String of thefts from vehicles hit area

Ocean View police on Monday, Jan. 18, reported that, over the weekend, the surrounding area had seen at least eight car burglaries that police knew about. They occurred in Savannah’s Landing, Ocean Way Estates and Summerfield, police said, noting that all of the vehicles were unlocked and various items, including cash, GPS equipment, cameras and other electronic items, were taken.

“We want to stress to everyone the importance of locking your vehicle when you get out of it,” police said. “Not only are you protecting your vehicle but, if you have a garage, the garage door opener is probably in your vehicle and you are providing a burglar access to your garage and possibly your home.”

Cpl. Bruce Harris of the Delaware State Police said there had also been car burglaries reported in the developments of Bethany Breeze, Bethany Meadows, Bethany Quarters, Harbor Retreat, Southampton and Land of Pleasant Living, with “upwards of 16 victims.” Similar items were taken in those incidents, including money, GPS equipment, purses and radios.

“The police can only do so much,” they emphasized this week. “The first line of responsibility is you, the home owner. Please take the time to lock your vehicles and homes and make it harder for burglars to get at your possessions.”

Police further pointed out that it is a lot faster and cheaper to lock the doors than it is to fill out police and insurance reports and then purchase replacement items.

Both Harris and Chief Ken McLaughlin of the Ocean View Police Department pointed out that no connection had been made between any of the burglaries last weekend or between those burglaries and recent burglaries of homes in the South Bethany and Sea Colony area, though it is possible there is a connection.

“It would be hard to speculate. There is no information that leads us to believe that they are [connected],” said McLaughlin.

Harris added, “Until we develop a suspect, it would be hard to tell that they are related,” but he said that the close proximity of the incidents could add to the likelihood that they are connected. He noted that the incidents are “still under investigation.”

Although coastal Delaware is often seen as anything but a high-crime area, Harris said burglaries are a statewide type of occurrence. Towns such as Selbyville, for instance, have been dealing with thefts from unlocked cars for some time.

“People go into developments, checking doors of cars. Obviously, we request that citizens hide their valuables and lock their doors to help deter some of the crimes,” said Harris.

He added that, often, thieves pawn items for money, but area pawn shops are required to take identification from anyone turning items in – so, for people looking to recover their stolen things, pawn shops might be a place to check.

Harris also said it was prudent to jot down serial numbers of electronic devices because, often, through a national database, people can get linked back with their stolen property if it is discovered.