Car break-ins hit neighborhoods on both sides of river

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

How to prevent your car from getting broken into:

  • Make sure to lock your vehicles
  • Remove all items from sight
  • Take all valuables out of the vehicle
  • Report suspicious activity

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, July 30, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A rash of car break-ins throughout the area has law enforcement urging you to lock your doors.

In less than a week, more than 20 cars were broken into in neighborhoods in Richmond County, and on Monday night, 10 more happened in North Augusta.

The majority of them are being called crimes of opportunity. Of the 32 car break-ins, 23 of the cars were unlocked.

The most common time for these to happen is between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.

"My house has had bikes stolen multiple times. I've seen people, criminals obviously, walking through my backyard," said Rhett Mills, who lives in Forest Hills.

Last week, he was dog sitting a few houses down when his car was broken into, leaving glass scattered on the ground.

"I couldn't believe it; I thought maybe a limb fell out and busted the window, so I was looking around the ground around my car. Maybe something hit it and broke it, but then I realized there's nothing on the ground, somebody broke in," Mills said.

They stole his backpack with his GPS inside, but his wasn't the only car they hit.

"They obviously had a system going to get that many houses in one night," Mills said.

That night, eight cars were broken into in the neighborhood, stealing everything from computers to a handgun.

"The majority of the vehicles were actually left unsecured, so it was a crime of opportunity. Persons have just opened the doors and taken small items," said Lt. Lewis Blanchard with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

On Sunday and Monday, six cars were broke into in the West Wheeler area, and eight more happened in the Waverly neighborhood. Across the river, 10 car break-ins happened overnight in the River Club neighborhood.

"They said car break-ins are exploding in Aiken County and in the CSRA and North Augusta is not unusual," said River Club Neighborhood Association President Steve Donohue.

He says it's left neighbors on edge.

"People are upset, very upset I'd say," he said.

Now law enforcement in both counties are urging people to be more vigilant by locking doors and taking valuables inside.

"Most criminals are gonna take the lazy way or take the crime of opportunity, so therefore, you want to make it as difficult as possible," Blanchard said.

It's a lesson Mills learned the hard way.

"I don't have anything in my car worth any kind of value now," he said. "I've taken it all out."

In the River Club neighborhood, it became a little more serious with two home break-ins as well. Cars were stolen from both of those homes. The neighborhood is having a meeting for all the residents at 10 a.m. Saturday at the North Augusta Public Safety hut.

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