Crimetracker: Weekend Auto Thefts

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Wichita police are warning car owners about a spike in recent auto thefts. The crimes, however, are becoming more brazen.

Briand Welch wanted to sell his car, but a thief posed as a prospective car buyer, and drove away. He said he handed over his keys, turned around to go along on a test drive, and the car was gone.

“You wouldn’t expect them to say ‘Hi, I’m such and such coming to steal your car,’” Welch said.

The Welch’s found their car and the suspect at a nearby gas station. The thief was arrested.

Richard Sparks, Wichita Police crime analyst, said authorities investigated 15 auto thefts in one weekend. Three of the thefts happened within blocks of each other near Harry and Edgemoor. He said thieves are mostly targeting vehicles parked near the downtown area during the weekend.

“We need to focus on resources in that area,” Sparks said.

Police have worked 447 stolen vehicles in 2012, 280 have been recovered.

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