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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Smash and Grab Thieves Focusing on Specialized Targets

At last week's city council meeting, Chief Mike Daly described a "smash and grab" crime that occurred at the Highland Hills Dog Park, which was thought to be part of a national trend occurring at dog parks throughout the country.

Yesterday, a similar crime occurred on Riverview Avenue, in which a criminal broke open a window to a work truck, peeled back the security screen, reached around the front seat to unlock the door to the cab and then cut the lights to the dome light so as not to alert the homeowner or neighbors.

The robbery took place in the middle of the night.

According to Lt. Rich Whitford of the Fort Thomas Police, this type of crime is rare for Fort Thomas. "We never saw this type of thing (since I joined the force) over 20 years ago. Then we got a call at St. (Elizabeth) about two years ago and that came out of nowhere. Right now, we are being extremely proactive and telling out swap intel what to look out for to keep our residents safe," said Whitford.

The victim, Matt Birkley co-owner of Birkley Heating, Cooling and Electric, was surprised at the brazenness of the thief. "I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'smash and grab' because of the amount of time the person had to spend inside the vehicle. They knew exactly what they were looking for," said Birkley. "There were two different kinds of Freon in there and (the thief) took the expensive one and left the one that was worth a fraction of the better one."

Whitford agreed with Birkley's assessment. "It's definitely someone who knew what to look for."

"We dealt with having to keep an eye on animal clinics because the thieves were specifically targeting the drug ketamine. This is likely the same type of (crime) where they know what's in the vehicle and will try to target these vehicles," said Whitford.  

Whitford is advising people who have work trucks or people that have to park their cars on the street to take precaution. "Park them next to your house or in a garage if you can." 

In the meantime, the Fort Thomas Police are proactively trying to recover the stolen items and helping to secure similar vehicles throughout the city.

If you have any information, be sure to call the Fort Thomas Police non-emergency line at 441-6562

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