Monday, March 4, 2013
Police are warning car owners to keep their car clear of valuables. It's a warning you've heard before but the recent numbers might convince you to listen.
Police have said that they've seen a dramatic rise in the number of thefts over the last year and car break-ins are one of the biggest problems.
Just this weekend, there were 63 car break ins in Wichita. Last weekend there were about 54. The weekend before that, there were more than 80.
As a storm spotter for Sedgwick county, Michael Mathia is used to his truck taking a beating.
"I've had some hai; damage in the past like I said I've had to replace the windshield a couple times and as you can see the paint job isn't exactly stellar. That is damage from storms over the years,” Mathia said.
Now he's got one more repair to make, a broken windo. But the damage wasn't caused by any storm. Mathia's truck was broken into by thieves.
"You would think that people would have something better to do than something like this,” Mathia said.
Mathia's truck is one of 63 car break ins that happened just over the weekend.
"We're talking almost one per hour, and that's a lot,” Lt. Doug Nolte with the Wichita Police Department said.
The crimes are spread out all over town, outside businesses and in neighborhoods.
"Really what we want to stress to people is make sure you don't make your car an easy target by keeping valuables that are visible in sight and if you are you make your car a little bit more attractive target,” Lt. Nolte said.
Mathia says whoever broke into his truck only got away with a tripod and camera he uses for storm chasing. But the window will cost nearly $300 to repair.
“And it's frustrating because having that kind of money laying around, it's not something anybody can do,” Mathia said.
Police say they are trying to tackle the high number of car break-ins by looking for possible connections and visiting businesses and neighborhoods that have had a lot. They say the best thing you can do to protect yourself is keep your car clear of anything a thief might want.