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Albemarle experiences uptick in car break-ins, police say

There have been an uptick in car crimes across Albemarle this month involving people breaking and entering, according to the Albemarle Police Department.

There have been 13 documented cases so far in September, said Detective Sgt. David Salyers, higher than in previous months.

He said car break-ins tend to fluctuate throughout the year. There were a high number of occurrences in February attributed to one individual, for example, but then cases largely decreased before picking up again about two months ago, Salyers said.

“Every couple of months we seem to have a rash of it,” Salyers said, noting much of it seems to be attributed to people leaving their car doors unlocked. “The vast majority of these are just crimes of opportunity.”

While most of the cases involved simple breaking and entering, burglary offenses were noted for two occasions on Sept. 8 and 13, according to police data.

During one incident on Sept. 17, a car was stolen though it was later recovered, Salyers said. A license tag has also been stolen from a car this month.

The police have not yet arrested any suspects.

“Unfortunately with these cases, it’s hard to arrest anybody unless they steal a debit card and use it,” Salyers said.

He added that he’s surprised many local businesses have not installed security cameras, which would help deter crimes, such as breaking and entering, from occurring.

Even for businesses that have cameras, Salyers said, they are often not focused around parking lots, which perpetrators are aware of and have used to their advantage.

Stanly County Family YMCA CEO George Crooker on Tuesday emailed YMCA members about the “rash of car thefts” happening in crowded parking lots across the city, including around the facility.

“The Y, along with several other businesses, is working with the Albemarle Police, but we have not yet been successful helping to apprehend them,” Crooker wrote.

Crooker also noted that the car break-ins have occurred during the day and involving perpetrators smashing side windows to enter. He also wrote they are using different vehicles to commit the break-ins.

“I strongly urge all Y members and participants to please bring your valuables inside and lock them up in the building,” he added.

The YMCA has more than 300 lockers and lock boxes available.

Salyers said the department has been in contact with the YMCA about the incidents.

The police in the past have posted on Facebook many suggestions for how people can best protect themselves. In addition to making sure vehicles are locked, people should close car windows, avoid leaving valuables in their vehicles and park in well-lit areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests people install an audible alarm system and use a visible anti-theft device to further deter car thieves.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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