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Auto burglars hit ETSU, other locales; JCPD chief gives prevention advice

Rex Barber • Sep 16, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Three vehicles were burglarized and one was stolen on the campus of East Tennessee State University this past week.

ETSU spokesman Joe Smith said students, staff and faculty were notified of the incidents and advised to take actions to protect their property.

Johnson City police notified the campus of the incidents on Friday, Smith said.

“And it seems like they’re targeting people who have left their doors unlocked,” Smith said.

Smith said there have been other vehicle burglaries around town, including several in neighborhoods close to ETSU.

Smith said the school was encouraging motorists to be sure to lock their cars and to not leave cash and other valuable items in plain sight.

Johnson City Police Department Chief Mark Sirois confirmed that a number of auto burglaries have taken place Sept. 4 and Monday afternoon in Johnson City.

In fact, a JCPD crime analyst compiled a list of 27 burglaries since Sept. 4. Eight of those happened on Aug. 9. Sirois said these crimes were spread around town.

He, too, cautioned against leaving valuables in plain sight in vehicles.

“Most of the vehicles were left unlocked, which makes them targets of opportunity for burglars, and they will pick up what is available such as loose change, phones, computers or GPS devices,” Sirois wrote in an email to the Johnson City Press. “If I could give one tip, it would be to make sure your vehicle is locked. Burglars can break a window, but they won’t do it if they can just open an unlocked door, of course. Plus, breaking a window can draw attention, increasing the chances they will be noticed, someone will call 911 with a description, and they will be apprehended.”

But most burglars will not even bother with a car that has nothing in plain sight worth obtaining, Sirois said.

If anyone has any information on these burglaries, Sirois asked that they call Crimestoppers at 434-6158 or via the anonymous tip line by texting 423JCPD and tips to 847411 (TIP411).

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