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METH ADDICTS OUT ON A SPREE? AUTO BREAK-INS LINKED TO DRUGS.

Byline: Daily News

MOORPARK -- Thieves have been breaking into cars in Ventura County in a string of auto burglaries, including a rash of break-ins this month in Moorpark.

Moorpark Police Department spokesman Ed Tumbleson said most of the recent break-ins have occurred at night on residential streets and in driveways.

"It's a new trend," he said. "It's happening all over Ventura County.

He said the thieves are targeting vehicles with valuables clearly visible inside.

"They walked by cars that didn't have anything in them," Tumbleson said. "They are not breaking in to take stereos, but cars that they can easily get money out of."

Vehicle break-ins have also been reported over the past months in Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, where police have been warning residents and shoppers not to leave valuables visible inside their cars.

In Moorpark, the break-ins were reported March 6, 8, 10 and 12 on 15 streets, including three streets inside a gated community off Miller Parkway.

The thieves took laptop computers, purses, gift cards, iPods and MP3 players, and cash and checks from a bank deposit bag.

Ventura County sheriff's deputies have speculated that the break-ins might be the result of increasing methamphetamine use.

Lt. Roy Jones of the Simi Valley Police Department said there have been similar break-ins in Simi Valley over the past year, but he could not recall so many occurring in such a short period of time as in Moorpark.

Jones said arrests his department has made in the past confirm that people who break into cars are often also involved in illegal drug use.

"Most property crimes are crimes of opportunity," he said. "We always suggest people remove visible property from their cars."

People with information about these crimes that leads to an arrest and charges could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 from Ventura County Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark can be reached at (805) 494-TALK, and at (805) 385-TALK in Camarillo, Oxnard and Port Hueneme.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 18, 2007
Words:336
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