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Burglars strike Park City

Park City Police Department investigators are probing a string of car break-ins and intrusions into garages, admitting the cases are stumping them thus far.

The incidents continued last week, the Police Department said, with officers responding to another series of calls. The investigators are warning Parkites to lock their cars, close garage doors and take valuables out of cars when they are parked outside.

The Police Department said the increase in similar cases dates to about a month ago. Mary Ford, a detective assigned to the investigation, said cars and garages in Old Town and Park Meadows have especially been targeted.

Most of the cases occurred overnight, and Ford said the police have not found witnesses. The investigators have not lifted usable fingerprints from the crime scenes, she said, and they found little other evidence. The police did not have suspects by the beginning of the week.

"I don’t know if it’s people coming from outside the community just doing car prowls," Ford said.

Some of the recent cases include:

Two bicycles were reported stolen from a garage on Crestline Drive at 5:05 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Someone reported a vehicle break-in on Woodside Avenue on Nov. 5.

A person on American Saddler Drive on Nov. 5 told the police a vehicle had been broken into.

Someone on Sunny Slopes Drive reported on Nov. 5 a vehicle had been broken into the night before. Police logs indicate the vehicle was parked in the driveway when it was broken into.

A person on Crestline Drive on Nov. 5 told the police a vehicle had been broken into the night before. The person also told the police the person or people entered the garage.

The police received a report of two vehicle break-ins on Holiday Ranch Loop Road on Nov. 5, with the cases appearing to have occurred the night before.

Someone in the overnight hours of Nov. 5 reported a window broken on a vehicle on Park Avenue. The police said nothing was missing from inside.

"We have little evidence. That’s just the nature of the crime," Ford said.

The cases are usually occurring between midnight and 3 a.m., she said, with the victims not discovering and reporting the break-ins until the next morning.

Strings of vehicle break-ins resembling the most recent have long plagued Park City, with there seeming to be similar stretches of break-ins at least once every few years. There are some differences, though, with those reported in the last few weeks, including that the police say the perpetrators are finding garage-door remotes in the cars they break into and then using them to enter garages.

Ford said the victims reported losing wallets, purses, prescription medicines, rock-climbing equipment, expensive sunglasses and electronic music players.

"Anything that looks of value they’re taking," Ford said.

In many of the cases, according to the detective, people have left their vehicles unlocked, allowing easy access into them. Parkites commonly leave their cars unlocked while they are parked in driveways or on streets, a habit left over from the early ski-town days, when there were fewer people living in Park City and less crime.

"They’re getting into unlocked cars. I’m not seeing anything about forced entry," Ford said.

Vehicle break-ins are frequently reported crimes in Park City, and the police for years have combated the cases with stepped-up patrols and suggestions that people take precautions. Police Department records show 69 reports of vehicle burglaries in 2007 down significantly from the 138 reported the year before.

People with information about the most recent cases may call the Police Department at 615-5500.


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