Police: Car break-ins rise alongside temperatures

PARKERSBURG – At least five car break-ins occurred in Parkersburg over the weekend, leaving police to believe the warmer temperatures to be a contributing factor.

Sgt. Greg Collins with the Parkersburg Police Department said the weather definitely changes the patterns of criminals.

“Anytime we have warm weather, it’s much more likely the criminals will be out on foot or on bicycles looking for their next score,” Collins said Monday. “Even a warmer day or night in the dead of winter will cause increased criminal activity.”

During any extreme temperatures, criminals are more likely to stay indoors, leading to less criminal activity on the city’s streets, Collins said.

At least one of the cars broken into was reported to be unlocked, police said.

Parkersburg police said the following break-ins occurred Saturday and Sunday:

* Saturday, Chasity St. Andry reported the window was broken on her vehicle and her purse was taken.

* Saturday, Heather Brownfield reported someone entered her unlocked vehicle and took her purse.

* Sunday, Rebecca Kelch of Parkersburg reported someone broke the back window of her vehicle and took a bag containing a laptop.

* Sunday, Jamie Davis of Parkersburg reported someone broke the rear passenger window of her vehicle and took her purse.

* Sunday, Justin Michael Bragg reported his vehicle was stolen.

“Our uniformed officers are constantly on the lookout for and have actually caught numerous suspects going down the street or through a parking lot checking door handles and looking in windows,” Collins said.

Last weekend, three people reported at least one window of their vehicle to have been broken and items removed, according to police reports. One person had a bag containing a laptop removed from the car, as well as someone having had a purse stolen.

Criminals break a window and steal valuables if they can see what is in a vehicle, Collins said.

“They are gone in seconds and rarely does anyone see the crime happen,” he said. “If they can’t actually see what’s in the car we believe it is much more likely they will move on to the next potential victim.”

Police said the approaching colder weather will cause a decrease in criminal foot and bicycle traffic in neighborhoods, but people shouldn’t think they are safer because of that. Officials said there are addicts that need their next drug fix and cold temperatures won’t keep them from stealing from cars.

“Loose change in the ash tray is often enough to get your vehicle broken into for these criminals,” Collins said.

Officers are always on the lookout for criminals, police said.

“Our uniformed officers are doing a really good job checking and identifying everyone out moving around,” Collins said. “They will be vigilant no matter what the temperatures are.”