January 24, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---If you park your car outside, look out.
Thieves have broken into more than a dozen cars across the area, going straight for the switch that starts the engine.
But so far, that's all they've done.
That's why deputies say the thieves seem to have unfinished business, and they'll probably be back.
Tonya Sharrod found her Oldsmobile early this morning with the window broken in and a busted steering column.
"It's getting expensive," she told News 12. "I don't have the money to keep fixing the windows."
This is the second time she's had to replace a window...but in this case, the thieves didn't stop there.
There have been 15 similar break-ins, half from south Augusta near Windsor Spring and the other half in west Augusta.
Scott Walker of west Augusta found his truck window broken, and the only thing missing was his driver's manual.
"It does seem odd," Scott said. "I guess he assumed we had some merchandise or something re-sellable...but we didn't."
He finds it odd because of the way the break-ins happened.
Everything about these break-ins is consistent with the way deputies say thieves steal cars. They say the thieves reach in, unlock the door, open it up, get in, and bust through the steering column. That's how they get to the engine switch.
Deputies say the most commonly stolen cars are general motors, just like 10 of these 15 reported break-ins.
"They tried to steal it, they didn't get one," Lt. Tony Walden told News 12. "They didn't get caught this time, so it's reasonable they may come back."
Lt. Walden says it appears they got close and either got scared or couldn't figure out how to get it started.
"They didn't know what they were doing...so luckily it's drivable."
Whatever the reason, Tonya is glad she's the one driving her car and not the thieves.
Witnesses say they saw some men hanging out in each of the areas where the break-ins happened.
Deputies say many of the crimes are related, and they're trying to find who's responsible.