City police are warning residents to be vigilant and more security-conscious after a recent rash of vehicle entries.
"Thefts from vehicles are on the rise again. We're watching, but we really need the help of the public in locking their doors and not making it so easy," Chief Bob Floor said Thursday.
Lt. Don Beeson added that people should not leave valuables in plain sight in an unlocked vehicle. Both he and Floor said thieves rarely go to the trouble of breaking a window to make entry, largely due to the noise from breaking glass.
When asked if the recent incidents were all related, Floor said that more often than not, they are related, especially if they're clustered in one general area. He said many of the thefts and entries have occurred along North Lincoln Avenue and Ellsworth between Fourth and Ninth streets, but other areas have been hit, too.
At 4:30 a.m. Thursday, a resident in the 200 block of West Eighth Street reported he was on his porch and saw a male cross the street and walk in the leaves and pull the door latch on his pickup. He confronted the suspect who then fled on foot, traveling east on Eighth Street and then south on Howard Avenue where the resident lost sight of him. The truck was locked and entry was not made.
The suspect was described as a male standing 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds and wearing a striped hooded sweatshirt.
An officer checking the area for the suspect at 4:58 a.m. found a blue minivan on West Ninth Street with the side door open. The owner and his wife were contacted and reported no items missing, but the van had been ransacked.
Another resident reported at 7:31 p.m. Wednesday that she parked her vehicle in the Marc's parking lot on East State Street and entered the store at 6:05 p.m. and when she returned, she saw her windows down and the sun roof open. She noticed the center console had been ransacked and an envelope containing $440 was missing along with other items for a cell phone.
A resident in the 700 block of East Fourth Street reported at 10:34 a.m. Wednesday that someone removed a small tool box containing miscellaneous tools from his larger truck bed tool box in his pickup, which was parked in his driveway. He said the bed tool box is normally padlocked, but he forgot to lock it this time.
There have been numerous reports filed the past couple of days. There were also similar reports filed in Perry Township for residences on North Lincoln Avenue and neighborhoods in that area.
Floor said if any residents see anything suspicious or see anyone in the act of illegally entering a vehicle, they should call police and try to remember anything distinguishable about the person, such as their hair color, what they're wearing, what color their clothing is, whether they're wearing glasses or whether they're wearing a hat and what their body type is, whether they're large, tall, skinny or short.
Anyone with information about the recent thefts should call police at 330-337-7811.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org