Car burglaries on rise in Incline
INCLINE VILLAGE -Vehicle burglars on the North Shore have it easy.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Incline Substation received more than 30 vehicle burglary reports in the past few months.
Authorities say the loss of property could have been prevented if the victims had done one or two simple things – such as locking their car doors, or putting their valuables in the trunk.
Simple enough, but many people don’t take the extra step to protect their property because they live in Incline Village, said Det. Dave Clearwater.
There’s a public perception that Incline is immune to crime, but that’s not the case, he explained.
Incline residents tend to leave their vehicles unlocked, windows down with their purses, cell phones, palm pilots, and CD players in plain view.
“People make it easy for them (burglars),” Clearwater added.
The suspects in most of the cases are younger, inexperienced burglars.
Opportunists is another word for them.
The burglars check for unlocked vehicles, because there’s less work involved when breaking into a car.
“They don’t want to work for it,” Clearwater said. “They take anything (they see sitting out).”
The burglaries have become so frequent across the North Shore that Clearwater is working with Placer County Det. Michael Lyke in setting up a dragnet to catch the suspects.
However, petty theft isn’t the only thing Clearwater is investigating.
Clearwater said at least three vehicles were stolen out of Incline this year.
In one of the cases, the keys were left in a vehicle owned by Pam Emmerich.
“It happened the same night those poles came down on Ski Way,” said Emmerich, Sierra Nevada College’s registrar. “I woke up, looked out the window and it was gone.”
Emmerich said she believes the suspect who took her car was the same motorist who crashed a car into the power poles on Ski Way.
Emmerich, who lives on Second Tee Drive near Ski Way, had been in the habit of leaving the keys in her car the night it was stolen.
She did so because “this is Incline.”
She believed Incline was crime free. “I had no clue,” she added.
“Well, I found out,” she said. “The funniest thing is I found out how many people leave their keys in their cars.”
Emmerich was fortunate though. Her car was recovered in Reno a couple days later, undamaged and her belongings left inside.
Clearwater said residents can take a few simple measures to protect their property.
“They can lock their doors for one thing,” he said. “Or, they can put them in the trunk. They can hide their belongings from plain view.”
If they park their car at home, they should park in the garage or leave it in a well-lit area, Clearwater said.
Clearwater added that if a suspect is caught in a felony vehicle burglary case, he or she could face up to one to five years in prison.
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