Car thefts up in Glenwood |

Car thefts up in Glenwood

John Gardner

Car thefts in Glenwood Springs are on the rise, and vehicle owners are making it easy for thieves.”We are doing everything except holding the door open for them,” said Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson.Between Oct. 8 and Nov. 9, eight vehicles were stolen in Glenwood Springs, bringing this year’s total to date to 47. As long as Wilson has been on the Glenwood Springs Police Department, he said he’s never seen a run like this.”The last two months have been a real bums’ rush,” Wilson said.In 2005 there were only 36 reported stolen vehicles, in 2004 there were 49, and with more than a month to go in 2006 Wilson expects this to be the highest year yet.”We’ve just been getting hounded by theft this year,” Wilson said.Wilson said that in recent years activity may have been focused on one area, but this year doesn’t seem to have any patterns.”It’s happening all over the community,” Wilson said.Most of the vehicles have been recovered around town, some as far away as Carbondale and Aspen. One vehicle was recovered in Mexico.Neighboring communities like Aspen and Carbondale haven’t seen an increase in auto thefts like Glenwood Springs. According to Patrol Sgt. Gary Kalkman of the Aspen Police Department, it’s the same old thing. Out of the 20 vehicles reported stolen in Aspen, the keys were left in the vehicle by the owner in all of them, Kalkman said.”In the past 20 years, of the stolen vehicles maybe one car didn’t have the keys in it,” he said.Both officers said that in a majority of the cases, the keys were in a “hide-a-key” set inside or outside of the vehicle and were not instances where the key was actually in the ignition. However, Chief Wilson stated that the criminal will take a few extra seconds to look for the key if they’ve already gotten inside the car.Rifle has seen an average year of auto theft with 25 reported from Jan. 1 to Nov. 1 of this year. That number is the same as in 2005 for the same period of time.The Glenwood Springs Police Department did have an arrest last month in one case, but the majority of the cases have yielded no suspects.”Some indications are that these may be repeat offenders with a habit of joy riding,” Wilson said.And along with heisting the vehicle, perpetrators also take personal property from the cars as well. That concerns Wilson with the upcoming holiday season.Wilson advised citizens not to leave packages visible in their cars during holiday shopping. Instead, put the packages in the trunk.”Thieves are just looking for those situations,” he said.==========Auto theftsGlenwood Springs- 2004: 49 stolen vehicles reported- 2005: 36- 2006: 47 through Nov. 9Rifle – Jan. 1 to Nov. 1, 2005: 25- Jan. 1 to Nov. 1, 2006: 25=========Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado CO

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