Columbia police are investigating a rash of vehicle break-ins in one neighborhood near downtown.
The Greenview neighborhood – bordered by North Main Street, Farrow Road, I-20 and Cushman Drive – had more than twenty incidents from Aug. 13 to Aug. 21, police chief Skip Holbrook said in a statement released Friday.
The break-ins have occurred at various times during the evening and overnight and have occurred at the following locations: Langwater Street, Sampson Circle, Wilkes Road, Conveyor Street, Seabury Street, Armour Street, Gabriel Street, Steadfast Street, Easter Street, Cindy Drive, Ronald Lane, Floyd Drive, Dixon Drive and Juniper Street.
In many cases, cars were left unsecured while in other incidents, the suspect gained entry by an unknown means, Holbrook said. In at least one break-in, the suspect used an object to pry open the driver’s side door.
The suspect or suspects have taken such items as a purse, wallet, cash, handgun, laptop, iPhone charger, GPS unit, alcohol, keys and a camera.
Officers have recovered some of the stolen goods and are stepping up patrols in the area, Holbrook said.
In addition, Holbrook had this advice:
• Always lock your car.
• Don't make your car attractive to thieves by leaving valuables and packages in plain sight.
• Park in well-lit areas. Many vehicle thefts and thefts of items in vehicles occur at night.
• Park in attended lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses.
• Never hide a second set of keys in your car.
• Avoid believing that a thief won’t come onto your property to break into your vehicle.
Holbrook also recommended using a free, online inventory program such as ‘Report It’ to safeguard valuables.
‘Report It’ lets users securely store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures and scans of receipts so their items may be more easily identified in the event of theft or loss, Holbrook said. Investigators can then search for the stolen items with the help of item descriptions and serial numbers.
Residents can find the service at: www.columbiapd.net/crime_prevention.html.
Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. You can also send information by texting "TIPSC" plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Those with information may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.