Colleyville police reported a spike in vehicle burglaries in January and said they hope it does not become a trend.
“It was an unusually high month for us,” Police Chief Mike Holder said via email. “However, we made a significant arrest related to the thefts.”
Car owners reported 27 vehicle burglaries in the city in January.
In January 2013 the city had three reported vehicle burglaries, but Colleyville police captain Robert Hinton explains that the city is not alone in a shift.
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“The entire Metroplex has seen a huge spike,” he said. “There is a much younger group of individuals out, organized, actively burglarizing large swaths of land.”
Neighboring police departments, such as Keller and Southlake, agree there has been an increase in vehicle burglaries the past year, although neither has seen a large spike.
Southlake Police chief Steve Mylett added that the crime occurs in waves, but activity has been calm recently.
Keller Police Capt. Brenda Slovak said while vehicle burglaries are one of the most common crimes in Keller, the city has not seen any unusual increases.
Hinton added that smarter policing allowed the department to clear a few of the crimes.
In mid-January, the city arrested and charged 18-year-old Gage Tyner with five counts of Burglary of Vehicle, after finding property in his car that was reported stolen from vehicles in the Saddlebrook and Bridlewood subdivisions, Hinton said.
“We had officers out specially that night to target car burglars,” Hinton said.
Further investigation lead to the arrest of 19-year-old Jacob Stewart for his involvement with Tyner. Police also charged Stewart with five Burglary of Vehicle offenses.
At the time of Tyner’s arrest, police also found items from a previous Irving area school burglary, Hinton added.
The burglaries have happened throughout the city, including homes, commercial parking lots and even at schools. Crimes were reported on similar days and in areas as if the criminals are going vehicle to vehicle.
Hinton said criminals work in tandem to quickly get into cars, sometimes down a street, before there are any witnesses. Most of the crimes were reported to happen anywhere from late night to early morning.
Vehicle burglaries take minutes, if not seconds, as criminals grab whatever they can find. Hinton added that in some cases, doors were left open as burglars move on to the next car.
Reportedly stolen items include designer purses, handguns, tablet computers, credit cards, medications, GPS and radar units and even loose change.
22 reported vehicles had no sign of forced entry.
The police department urges residents to lock their cars and not to leave valuables inside.
Colleyville is coming off one of its safest years in recent history with the crime rate being its lowest in 22-years, according to the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report.