|Unlocked cars in Fort Thomas were rifled through once again over the past week, but thieves were overlooking some valuables in search of keys. FTM file.|
Break-ins italicized in the lede of this article because despite the warnings by police, media coverage and sheer number of families that have been victimized, thieves are still preying on cars that are unlocked in Fort Thomas.
"It's a real problem," said Detective Adam Noe. "It's one that we really can't prevent. Our residents are being preyed upon and we can't stress it enough: don't allow yourself to be a victim. It's as simple as locking your doors."
Noe said this time thieves hit in clusters on Pentland and Sweetbriar Avenues, before making their way back into the Summit Avenue subdivision in Fort Thomas. Within the last week to ten days, he estimated that around 20 people had reported that their cars were rummaged through.
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RELATED: Fort Thomas Police: 20 More Cars Burglarized; All Were Unlocked
Fort Thomas resident, Ashley Barlow, said thieves got into her vehicle last week, overlooked some gift cards in plain view, and moved on.
"I've learned my lesson," she said.
"The criminals are coming back because they are successful when they come to Fort Thomas. It's not just about me anymore. Sure, they didn't get anything from my car, but by leaving my car open it leaves the door open for them to come back and try again. Besides it being common sense, simply locking our doors allows a group security aspect. Taking extra precautions not only protects you, but it protects your neighbors."
It's not a coincidence that Barlow's car didn't have anything taken from it this week. Noe said that the trend has recently switched from thieves stealing valuables out of cars to stealing the entire car altogether.
"They are now looking for cars that are unlocked with the keys inside," said Noe.
Using this tactic over the last week, thieves stole vehicles from Garden Way and Pentland, both just off of Grand Avenue. One of those vehicles was recovered.
A tip over the weekend led police to Scenic View in north end of Fort Thomas for similar suspicious activity. Police were dispatched in the early morning hours on Sunday to investigate "juveniles wandering through the neighborhood."
A search ensued, but an arrest was not made.
While Det. Noe admitted that solving these cases was not likely, they were able to follow a lead on this case and were hopeful to make an arrest. They were questioning a suspect on Tuesday.
He said with the information they have they believe the suspect, a juvenile, was likely responsible for the car thefts earlier in the week.
"In this case it may have been something like a simple joyride to something as serious as potential gang-related initiation. Regardless it could have been prevented just by locking your car and keeping your keys out of the car."
Noe said a charge of Theft of a Motor Vehicle could be forthcoming after interviewing the suspect.
Fort Thomas Matters will update this story.