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Guns stolen in string of car break-ins

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Police are investigating after three guns were stolen along with money and electronics in a string of car break-ins.

St. Albans Police said the first theft was reported on October 14 and the most recent break-in happened last night. Eight burglaries in the Shrewsbury Heights and Hillcrest area have been formally reported, but Police Chief Joe Crawford said a lot more people in these neighborhoods likely had their car ransacked but did not have anything of significant value taken.

“I went to run some errands yesterday morning and I could tell,” victim Alan Parsons said. “The glove compartment was opened up, the middle console compartment was left open and I know I didn’t do that. I just assumed that I left my car open and someone got into it.”

Parsons said the thieves only took around $5 in cash and loose change he had in his car.

Police said all of the break-ins happened at night with cars that were parked outside and unlocked.

“It was upsetting, in general, to folks,” Jon Beck said. “It’s a safe neighborhood, generally speaking. There is not a lot of through traffic.”

Neighbors said one person found their purse in the middle of the street and another family had video games and other electronics stolen out of their unlocked car.

Investigators are currently reviewing security video, Crawford said. At this point, it appears the suspects is a group of children that are up to no good.

“What we encourage our citizens to do is lock your cars,” Crawford said. “Because a lot of these, especially if they’re juveniles, it’s the path of least resistance. If a car is locked, they’re not going to break into it. They’re just going to move on to the next car they find unlocked.”

Police have found one of the three stolen guns, Crawford said. They are also increasing patrols in this hilly part of town that does not normally see crime like this.

“We are also asking neighbors to be vigilant,” Crawford said. “If you get an alert on your home system or your phone or whatever, call us. It’s not going to cause any problems with us. It just gets us in the area and we can flood the area and start looking.”

“You’ve always got to know where your gun is or your weapons are,” Crawford said. “They shouldn’t be left in cars because it’s an easy target. Normally, they’re outside and they’re accessible.”

Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to call 911. Police also want people to look at their home security video to see if the suspects might have attempted to unsuccessfully get into their car. This will help officers know where the break-ins could be happening next.

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