The Lexington Police Department is urging residents to do their part in preventing crime: take valuable items out of vehicles and always remember to lock the doors.
From January through November of this year, 1,760 thefts from vehicles have been reported to Lexington Police, including 334 firearms. The department has also investigated more than 900 cases of stolen automobiles during the same time period.
“Most of these crimes of opportunity occur because a vehicle was left unlocked or a valuable item was in plain view,” Chief Lawrence Weathers said. “Officers hear every day from victims who had wallets, expensive electronics, medication, guns, and other valuables stolen.”
The number of stolen firearms is concerning because they are rarely recovered. So far this year, only about five percent of the guns reported stolen from a vehicle in Lexington have been located.
“A stolen gun is a crime gun, and it could be used to carry out other criminal activity, such as a robbery or shooting,” Weathers said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to prevent all of these thefts from happening.”
Lexington Police has also seen a recent uptick in thefts of vehicles that were left running. Over the past week, seven vehicles were stolen while they were running, unlocked, and unattended.
Patrol officers and detectives in the Larceny Crimes Section are making continued progress in apprehending and charging suspects in auto-related crimes. Recent cases include:
- Shawn Wylie, 45, was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (contents of vehicle) on December 17 after officers observed him taking items from an SUV on Bryant Road.
- Tyler Gibson, 30; Jessica Houp, 28; and Byron Strunk, 41, were charged December 10 in connection with thefts from vehicles in Beaumont Centre as well as in the Broadway/Cedar Street area. These suspects are believed to be responsible for dozens of thefts in recent weeks.
- A 17-year-old male was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (contents of vehicle) after he was found in the early morning hours of December 4 with a laptop taken from an unlocked SUV in the Angliana area.
- David Orndorff, 20, was arrested November 7 after an officer observed him taking items from vehicles in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Found in Orndorff’s possession were two wallets, a purse, a laptop, two pairs of shoes, earpods, heroin, synthetic marijuana, and a stolen handgun.
- On October 20 officers received a call of two suspicious subjects checking door handles in the North Pointe neighborhood. A 17-year-old male was detained and found to be in possession of a firearm that had been stolen from a vehicle earlier in the month.
- A 14-year-old male and a 17-year-old male were charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (contents of vehicle) after video surveillance showed them taking ammunition and other items from vehicles on the night of October 18.
(Note: All juvenile suspects in above cases are different individuals. Police are prohibited from identifying juvenile offenders.)
Please, don’t make yourself an easy target for criminals. Never leave valuables in your vehicle, and always remember to lock your doors.