Residents report car break-ins

Sunday, September 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One of the reasons Linda Little moved to Oak View Drive in May was the neighborhood’s safety.

So, Little was concerned when she prepared to leave for work from her northeast Columbia home Friday morning and discovered her car window had been pried open overnight.

Nothing was taken, but Little was angry that her car could be entered so easily.

“It made me mad enough that I wanted people to know that this is going on,” she said “I just didn’t want other people to be victims like we were.”

Little’s was one of several cars illegally entered late Thursday night and Friday morning, according to police records.

Although the records do not offer specific numbers, they say that a series of thefts were reported in northern Columbia. On Amazon Drive, a set of keys for a 1999 Chevrolet Venture was stolen. In the 1900 block of Mary Ellen Drive, three credit cards and a purse were stolen after unknown suspects rummaged through two cars.

Because the incidents were similar, a single group of individuals might be behind most of the thefts, said Sgt. Stephen Monticelli of the Columbia Police Department. He said most were crimes of opportunity.

“They took things that were easy to grab,” he said. “They weren’t taking the time to take stereos out of the dash. They were taking things that could be quickly grabbed and put in pockets.

“Do we have one group all over town?” he said. “No. We find, though, many times that when we make an arrest on one group, they’re responsible for many thefts.”

Little said her car doors were locked, but other factors may have contributed to the break-in.

“My husband and I have a driveway that is for two cars, and we were parked side-by-side,” she said “The streetlights are far enough down on either side … that it was dark enough that they got in between the two cars.

“I don’t fault the city for anything,” she said. “But we are going to install some motion-sensor lights. We just didn’t realize that it was as dark as it was. It was too good an opportunity. They took hold of it.”

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