Auto thefts at high rate for the past month

Friday, August 15, 2014 | 6:38 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — There has been an increase in auto theft and vehicle larceny in Columbia during the past month, a Columbia Police Department news release said.

The main cause of auto theft is people leaving their vehicles unlocked with their keys in the ignition, Sgt. Robert Dochler said in an email. Larceny from vehicles most often occurs when they are unlocked. Valuable items left in plain sight are also a frequently cited reason for car break-ins.

In the past three weeks, 13 auto theft or missing vehicle incidents have been reported in Columbia, according to crime reports sent to the Missourian.

To curb the recent crime spree, the Police Department suggested certain precautions:

  • Remove keys from the ignition and lock the vehicle
  • Take personal belongings out of the car, as well as information such as checkbooks, licenses, wallets and credit cards
  • Never leave a weapon in a car
  • Park in a well-lit area

Dochler said the return of college students prompted the department to release the information and tips.

Supervising editor is Seth Klamann.

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