Sitka police are advising residents to take more care in locking their cars, after a rash of recent break-ins.
Earlier this week, the police department began to receive numerous reports from callers with similar stories: their unlocked cars has been entered and rifled, with the easiest valuables taken.
At 4:10 last Monday afternoon, a caller reported her vehicle and a friend’s vehicle were rummaged through while parked at Magic Island. Her wallet was picked apart, but it seems like whoever did it was looking for cash. 10 minutes later, another call from the Sealing Cove parking lot. And 10 minutes after that, a caller reported her ashtray was stolen from long term parking at the airport.
“Usually these things go in streaks,” said Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt.
And are especially common in parking lots with unlocked cars. Repeat targets are the airport – both long term and day parking – the harbors, Halibut Point Rec, and local parks.
Chief Schmitt says that reports of vehicle entry are often connected to one individual, moving from car to car, scoping for cash or valuables. He expects this pattern of events to eventually come to an end.
“We can hopefully connect the dots and sooner or later we’ll catch somebody in the act,” said Chief Schmitt. “And that will put a stop to things for awhile.”
In the meantime, Chief Schmitt advises folks to lock their cars. When asked why many in Sitka leave their cars unlocked, he attributes it to the comfort people feel in a small town.
“I just think it’s the nature of the town, which is not necessarily a bad thing that people feel that safe in town. I think that’s good,” said Chief Schmitt. “However it does happen. I gotta preach to my own daughter about locking up the car so she’s adopted that approach.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, police had identified a person of interest in connection with the break-ins.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Police Department business line at 747-3245.