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Thieves looking for easy targets; Best defense is a locked car, police say.

Byline: Michael Kane

WEST BOYLSTON - Police are again reminding residents to lock and secure their cars at night and to remove any valuables before going to bed after a string of car break-ins last week.

Twelve vehicles were reported broken into in neighborhoods around the Sterling town line, Police Chief Dennis Minnich said. Loose change was taken from most of the vehicles, although personal information, a credit card and a camcorder were also reported stolen during the thefts, which took place sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

The first report came from a Horseshoe Drive resident to police around 6 a.m. By 7 p.m., the count was up to 10, including another house on Horseshoe Drive where two vehicles were broken into. Other streets hit included: Sterling Place, Western Avenue, Davidson Road and Sterling and Linden streets.

Three more late reports came in Tuesday, but at least one appears unrelated. In that incident, police believe youths threw a baseball bat or similar object through the window of a vehicle of a school official.

The crimes are similar to past vehicle break-ins. Two such incidents occurred in West Boylston last year, and another the year before that. Similar break-ins have recently been reported in Holden and Sterling, where it has happened on Bean Road, which connects to the area hit in West Boylston, Minnich said.

This type of break-in involves quick hits, where the perpetrators move in darkness, from driveway to driveway looking for unlocked vehicles. Minnich said the best protection is to lock your doors and roll up your windows, a step which some of the victims forgot.

"They are targeting unlocked vehicles," Minnich said. "Don't leave valuables in a vehicle. We suggest all vehicles are locked and the windows are rolled up. If you have a garage, park it in the garage or in a well-lit area if you can."

Police are working on two leads in the recent thefts, Minnich said. The first is from Millbury police, who caught a male breaking into cars at the Blackstone Valley shopping mall and who reportedly has information on car breaks in the Worcester area. Police have also received the name of a possible suspect in the Sterling and Holden break-ins, Minnich said.

Two other thefts reported during the same time period Monday, one of planters at Hillside Village and another of construction material at Afra Terrace, are also unrelated, Minnich said. In the Afra Terrace incident, a witness observed the theft and police have already been in contact with the suspect.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 7, 2008
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