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Thefts from Vehicles in Barto, Bechtelsville Add to Area Crimes
Written by Kelly Chandler, Staff Writer

Police say take simple steps to avoid becoming a victim

        Authorities will tell you that the summer months are prime time for car break-ins.
        And thieves in Barto and Bechtelsville are proving the statistics correct as State Police, Reading barracks, have been investigating dozens of thefts from vehicles beginning in early June and as recently as last week.
        Trooper David Boehm, PSP Reading, said authorities believe there is a single suspect responsible for the string of thefts in that area. The suspect is described as a white male in his late teens to early 20’s. Police said they believe he is approaching residential areas in a black Chevrolet Lumina, parking in an isolated area, and then canvassing the neighborhood on foot to search for unlocked vehicles.
        Items being stolen are reportedly GPS systems, cash including coins, jewelry, credit cards and anything of any value.
        While the total value of the items is still to be determined, Boehm said it easily exceeds several hundred dollars.      
        He encourages people to lock their vehicles every time and noted that nothing is safe in an unlocked car, no matter how rural the area.
        “Criminals know that people in rural areas leave their doors unlocked and sometimes their keys in their cars. Unfortunately this isn’t 1984 or even 1974, it’s 2012. You have to think, would you leave it laying on a table in the Coventry Mall?”
        Police are urging residents to remove valuables from their vehicles and to close windows and lock doors. They also recommend that owners record serial numbers of items of value, like GPS systems, or engrave them with a distinguishable marking.
        That way, police said, if the items are stolen and recovered, the owner can get back his or her property. Many times, Boehm noted, the valuables are sold at area pawn shops for pennies on the dollar. 
        Upper Perk Police have also investigated dozens of thefts from vehicles over the past several months and, while as many as 50 in Pennsburg and East Greenville have been attributed to a 19-year-old East Greenville woman, who was charged in June in Red Hill District Court, there are still more under investigation. 
        “We very rarely have windows smashed to steal valuables from inside [vehicles],” noted Det. F. Robert Seville of Upper Perk Police. “Nine times out of ten they are just looking for unlocked vehicles. People should lock their doors as soon as they leave the vehicle.”
        State police, Skippack, said there have also been several thefts from vehicles in Red Hill during the summer months.
        Anyone with information on the thefts in the Barto/ Bechtelsville area is asked to call PSP Reading at (610)378-4011.





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