Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mistake Provides Auto Thieves with the Opportunity

On March 11th, one of our patrol officers responded to a residence to take a report regarding a missing auto from inside their garage. The vehicle, a 2006 BMW, was taken from the garage overnight while the homeowners were asleep.

Our first thought was that someone may have accidentally left the garage door open, which unfortunately is a regular occurrence in a large suburb, but further investigation revealed something different. Apparently, access was gained to the garage by taking a remote from inside one of the residents' vehicles which was parked on the street out front. The vehicle's owner indicated he had been having trouble with the car’s locks and it was left unlocked overnight. 

In this case we were lucky the suspects only wanted to take the vehicle, which was recovered later that day in Harrisonville, Missouri - minus the garage door opener. 

The suspects easily could have made entry into the house where the family was sleeping and this story might have had a tragic conclusion. In most cases, the garage door that leads inside the home is not secured. This can increase the risk of property loss from inside the home or lead to an unwanted confrontation with intruders.

Even though the vehicle was recovered in a short amount of time, we'll have to wait to find out if it was used in other crimes while in the hands of our suspect.

While this case didn't involve an open door, we typically see an increase of open garage door burglary reports during the warmer months.  Some of these reports are about incidents that occur during the daytime hours, but a larger number of these calls take place in the overnight hours when someone forgets to close the overhead door before going to bed.  These overnight crimes happen while victims are usually fast asleep and clueless that someone is rummaging through their garage.

Officers who see open garage doors, especially those seen overnight, regularly attempt to make contact with residents to warn them.  To avoid your own late night wake up call, remember to close those doors and lock all vehicles out front.