Thieves Targeting Local Park Goers

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Wednesday October 16, 2013

A warning from local law enforcement to not leave valuables in vehicles while at neighborhood parks.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Lt. David Mattingly says there have been eight vehicle break-ins in the past month, six in the past week, at Sedgwick County Park and the West Urban Sports Complex adjacent to it at 13th and Ridge.

Victim's losses are adding up to thousands of dollars. In one incident there was only $80 in content losses but the vehicle damage was $500.

In another park break-in the losses totaled $2,215.

Those and other break-ins are from a thief seeing opportunities to smash and grab purses often in sight inside vehicles.

Lt. Mattingly says, "It's tough because you need your driver's license to drive there. And we know that. But do you need your entire purse? Especially social security cards in the purse? That's too tempting for someone to have quick access to a document like that know how to use it in a criminal manner."

He says, "We have increased patrols in those areas. There's a good chance that unmarked police officers and deputies are going to be in that area."

And it's not just those two parks.

Mark Butler says he's walked his dog named Birdie for years at Harrison Park in east Wichita on Webb Road.

Butler says, "I noticed just in the last year, year and a half, we've started having these smash and grabs in the parking lot. You see the results, the glass on the parking lot."

Aimee McPherson posted on the KAKE Facebook page saying a thief smashed her car window at Harrison Park and stole a gym bag with an I-d in it. She says her loss is $800.

Officers are urging all of us to preferably not bring valuables with them to parks but to at least keep them out of plain sight.


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