Vail Valley law enforcement, state patrol launch ‘Lockdown Your Car’ campaign to prevent auto theft | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley law enforcement, state patrol launch ‘Lockdown Your Car’ campaign to prevent auto theft

Police and other agencies launched a "Lockdown Your Car" campaign to help prevent auto theft. Most auto thieves also commit other crimes. In this photo, police help a Colorado Springs, Colo., Fire Department vehicle into the Murray Hill Apartments where El Paso County Sheriff deputy Micah Flick was killed while investigating a motor vehicle theft in February.

VAIL — Those four people suspected in a string of car break-ins and thefts also committed other crimes.

No one should be surprised, authorities say.

"Auto theft is not just a property crime. In fact, 97 percent of adults charged with auto theft also commit additional crimes, making it a threat to the whole community," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "It's imperative that we educate our communities about the risks associated with leaving their cars unlocked."

The four alleged Vail thieves ran their crime spree through the middle of the night Monday, July 9, from East Vail across town. Vail Police said the group of four likely traveled to Vail from the Lakewood area just to break into vehicles and steal things.

They broke into at least eight vehicles and stole two, which were both recovered.

Vail Police arrested one of the four, Trevor Smoker. He makes his first court appearance Tuesday, July 17, in Eagle County Court.

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'Lockdown Your Car'

To help people protect themselves, law enforcement agencies and communities created Coloradans Against Auto Theft and launched "Lockdown Your Car," a statewide public awareness campaign to help people understand what can happen when they leave their vehicles unlocked.

Nothing good, it turns out.

According to the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center, 19,488 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 2017.

That's 375 stolen vehicles per week, or 53 per day, an 8 percent increase over 2016 and 31 percent over 2015.

Fridays and Mondays show the highest volume of auto theft; Sunday is the lowest, the center found.

'Thiever'

Coloradans Against Auto Theft's "Lockdown Your Car" campaign features "Thiever," a fake mobile app where car thieves scope out their next steal. Thiever is modeled after popular dating apps and is composed of profiles of the top stolen cars in Colorado, encouraging thieves to "swipe right," or steal the car.

It includes messages that imitate dating profiles and describe easy-to-steal cars, such as, "Sun's out and my windows are down. What more could you want?"

"With no seasonality to auto theft, this summer's Lockdown campaign is part of our year-round effort to spread awareness about what car owners can do to prevent their own cars from being stolen and used to commit other crimes," said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and Coloradans Against Auto Theft chair.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Vail car thieves

Vail Police are searching for the remaining suspects in a Monday, July 9, run of vehicle break-ins. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sgt. Luke Causey at 970-470-2372 or lcausey@vailgov.com.

Top 10 Stolen Vehicles in Colorado

1. Honda Civic

2. Honda Accord

3. Subaru Impreza

4. Ford F-250

5. Chevrolet Silverado

6. Jeep Cherokee

7. Ford F-350

8. Ford F-150

9. Dodge Ram Pickup

10. Subaru Legacy

Top Five Colorado Cities for Auto Theft

1. Denver

2. Colorado Springs

3. Aurora

4. Pueblo

5. Lakewood

Auto Theft Prevention Tips

• Never leave your car running unattended.

• Lock your doors every single time.

• Always park in well-lit areas.

• Don’t keep a spare set of keys in the car.

• Put gifts and all valuables in the trunk hidden from view.

• Report suspicious activities to the Vail Public Safety and Communications Center at 970-479-2201.

Source: Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center