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Rash of vehicle thefts over weekend

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Police Department is looking for information on possible suspects involved in the theft of three vehicles over the weekend.

Stolen Car Tracks
justine wettschreck/Daily Globe Huge ruts were left in the new sod behind Hy-Vee when an alleged stolen vehicle was driven across the lawn to get stuck in the mud.

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Police Department is looking for information on possible suspects involved in the theft of three vehicles over the weekend.

According to Worthington Police Sgt. Bill Bolt, all three vehicles were stolen from the same vicinity, in the Northland Mall/Milton Avenue/Douglas Avenue area.

"All three were recovered with no apparent damage," he stated. "And no apparent motivation for the theft."

All three vehicles were unlocked and had a key inside or hidden on the vehicle when they were stolen, he added.

"The keys weren't left in plain view, but were in or hidden on the car," Bolt explained.

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One vehicle was returned to the mall, one was left a couple of blocks from where it was stolen and the third was found stuck in the mud behind the new Hy-Vee store off of Ray Drive.

The third vehicle was actually reported stuck on the property before the owners called it in as stolen, Bolt said, and the tow service called to remove it was still trying to figure out how to get it out on Sunday.

"It was really in there," Bolt said.

In the winter, motor vehicle thefts are often the result of cars and trucks left running to warm up, but authorities believe the recent rash of car thefts has more to do with joyriders than the crime of opportunity a running vehicle presents.

"I think the suspects are going through parking lots looking for vehicles that are unlocked," Bolt stated.

One vehicle was recovered in the same area another was stolen, leading the police to believe the suspects abandoned one car and grabbed another from the same vicinity.

"All of them could have been prevented by taking a few simple steps," Bolt said. "Be proactive -- lock your car and don't hide a key on it. Instead, carry an extra key in your wallet."

Bolt also recommended not leaving valuables in a vehicle, especially in plain sight. Lock them in the trunk before you arrive at your destination. Items such as CDs, briefcases, sunglasses, keys, clothing and small change are all tempting to a thief.

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Other steps recommended by the Worthington Police Department include:

* Use a slide or portable mount for add-on radios and telephones. When you leave your car, lock them in your trunk.

* Mark the items with an ID number. If a stolen article is later recovered, the number will trace the item back to the owner.

* Park in well-lit areas, which increases the chance of vandals or thieves being seen.

* Call 911 if you see suspicious behavior. Report all incidents of vandalism and theft, even if you did not observe the crime. This helps authorities identify patterns through accumulated reports.

Anyone with information about the vehicle thefts can contact the Worthington Police Department at 372-2136, can call Crime Anonymous at 376-8477 (TIPS) or can text 372DTF to 847411 (tip411).

Related Topics: CRIME
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