West Vail car thieves targeting unlocked vehicles with keys left in them
How to help yourself
• Common sense: Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.
• Warning device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
• Immobilizing device: Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.
• Tracking device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau
VAIL — A string of car break-ins is hopefully making locals more diligent about locking their vehicles and taking their keys, police say.
Vail Police are investigating a half dozen vehicle break-ins in West Vail.
They all had one thing in common: Every vehicle was unlocked, Vail Police Department public information officer Detective Sgt. Luke Causey said.
Besides the break-ins, two cars were stolen in West Vail, Causey said.
Both vehicles were unlocked with the keys in them, Causey said.
Both were recovered within 24 hours. One was found on the Front Range and was towed back to the valley. The other was found in a West Vail parking garage.
Cars and owners are reunited and are doing fine. Neither vehicle was damaged or wrecked, and it does not appear that anything valuable was taken from the two stolen vehicles.
Both stolen vehicles were processed for fingerprints and DNA, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is doing the analysis, Causey said.
Of the six vehicles broken into in West Vail, all were unlocked, and no windows were broken. Thieves stole everything from sports gear to some electronic gear, Causey said.
“Although we live in a safe community, we would encourage people to lock and secure their cars and other property,” Causey said. “We never know who might be wandering around, looking for something they want, and who are willing to steal to get it. We would hate for that to happen.”
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says you are likely your own best deterrent.
“Technology is working, but complacency can defeat it,” the organization said in a statement. “While thefts are down dramatically since their all-time high in 1992, thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles, and that invites theft.”
Avon not immune
In Avon, some juveniles stole a car from a rental company in September. Avon police retrieved both the car and one of the juveniles and are investigating some other minors who might have been involved, Avon Police said.
The alleged Avon car thieves are from the Front Range. They stole the car in Avon and drove it to Aurora, where Aurora Police found both the stolen car and the kids, Avon police said.
The definition of a stolen vehicle can be broad. An Avon man reported on the Eagle County Classifieds Facebook page that his longboard was stolen and is offering a $200 reward.
“Vail is small and locally oriented. It’s more cultural. A lot of us came from small, rural towns where cars are unlocked and keys are left in them,” said a friend of one of the Vail victims, who asked not to be named. “It’s happening, and the sad thing is that it’s probably going to keep happening.”
His best advice?
“Don’t nag them. They know they’re supposed to lock their cars and take their keys,” he said.
Eagle County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the thefts. Call 970-328-TIPS to submit a tip.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.
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Lindsey Vonn no longer has a home in Vail, but a big piece of her heart will always remain here.