Police Encourage Not Leaving Keys In Car Due To Continued Thefts
After a recent rash of car thefts in Newtown, police are warning residents to keep their car doors locked and to not leave keys or fobs within the vehicle.
Newtown Police Administrative Sgt Jeff Silver told The Newtown Bee on Wednesday, September 8, that the thefts are an "ongoing thing" and that there have been many car thefts over the past several years. He said the rash of thefts is not isolated to Newtown.
Just between Friday, September 3 and Tuesday, September 7, there were four reported car thefts, from Wills Road, Bancroft Road, Old Purdy Station Road and Boggs Hill Road. All four vehicles were recovered in Waterbury. Silver stated that vehicles stolen from Newtown are typically found in Waterbury or Bridgeport.
"[Perpetrators] come in the night and look for cars with the keys in them," Silver said.
Additionally, Silver stated that earlier on September 8, police located another stolen car that fled the area. Silver said the "laws are very sticky about what we can go after and what we can't," noting that a police chase could lead to injuries of not just the perpetrator and police involved in the chase, but innocent bystanders.
"It's just property crime at that point," Silver said, but a chase could escalate to much more.
Historically, most of the car thieves who are caught are juveniles, stated Silver, but car thefts are difficult to investigate.
"The cars are usually gone and dumped before the theft is even reported," said Silver.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said in a September 7 interview that he thought many of the crimes were juveniles as "a joyride thing" but some vehicles are also used in other crimes.
Silver also stated there have been many cases of vehicles being broken into and valuables stolen.
While car thefts and break-ins used to happen mostly along the main corridors of town, the incidents have gotten "deeper and deeper into town."
"Now it's just everywhere," Silver said. His advice is to secure belongings and not leave keys in the car, even during the day.
Rosenthal stated that while it is "never the victims fault," people should "not make it easy" for potential thieves.
"This is something we have to get our arms around," said Rosenthal. "I'm worried it can escalate into something worse."
Rosenthal thought that fobs were a particular problem.
"A thief doesn't even have to know where a fob is," said Rosenthal. "If the fob is in the vehicle, all a thief has to do is push the ignition button and go. They don't even have to look for where the fob is hidden."
Reporter Jim Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.