Overnight auto break-ins on rise; caution urged

Overnight auto break-ins on rise; caution urged

CUMBERLAND - Lock your car, police Chief John Desmarais is urging residents following what he describes as a "rash" of break-ins in recent months.

Thieves, working under the cover of early-morning darkness, are walking neighborhood streets in search of unlocked cars and trucks, says the chief.

They're opening the doors and scooping out accumulated loose change, grabbing the GPS system and picking up any other packages left behind.

Desmarais says the thieves aren't bothering with locked cars, only those that can be readily searched.

"It's a crime of convenience," says the chief that's "nothing new. It's happening other communities, too."

Generally, too, the car invasion happens to those parked on a street or at the end of a driveway near the street.

This is a story that generally comes at Christmastime when thieves grab packages left behind, says Desmarais, but this summer has seen a definite upswing.

Three suspects have been arrested, two in Cumberland Terrace off High Street, and one on Angell Road, thanks to the work of special undercover patrols. Nabbing them is difficult, says Desmarais, because thieves easily hide behind the cars when they spot headlights coming toward them.

Desmarais is also asking citizens to use motion or heat detector lights in their driveways and to contact the station about anything suspicious.

Desmarais says there's a ready market for GPS devices. They're sometimes recovered with other stolen goods by area police departments. Officers often just hit the "go home" function to find the owners, said the chief.