Car break-ins can and do happen everywhere.
So far this month — through Oct. 27 — 13 incidents were reported to Tinley Park police. Whether burglars strike vehicles in residents' driveways or those parked outside local shopping malls and in workout center lots, they are most often looking for a quick smash-n-grab theft, police officers said.
Fitness center parking lots are often targeted because thieves know that when people work out, they don't take their valuables with them, Tinley Park Police Cmndr. Steve Vaccaro has said.
The best defense against burglary to your vehicle is simple: Lock your doors.
Here are a few other pointers from law enforcement officials:
- When away from home, park in well-lit, busy areas of parking lots.
- Take all valuables out of your car. Put packages and other items in the trunk. Don't leave change, CDs, cell phones and other items in plain view to tempt would-be thieves.
- If you park your car in your driveway when at home, don't leave a garage door opener or house keys in the car and don't forget to lock the doors.
- Be alert for suspicious activity in parking lots and in your neighborhood and call the police department if you observe anything out of the ordinary.
- Call 911 to report any suspicious or unusual activity. Be prepared to provide vehicle information like the color, make, model, license plate and suspect descriptions including gender, race, and clothing.
The following is a list of vehicle break-ins reported in Tinley Park this month. They coincide with the accompanying map, which plots the crime for you.
FRIDAY, OCT. 21
- Someone broke the window of a 2008 Town & Country van between 7 a.m. and 7:25 a.m. while it was parked at LA Fitness, 18400 Convention Center Drive in Tinley Park. The burglar stole a woman's purse which contained a Blackberry and her wallet. In the wallet was $180, her driver's license, 15 credit cards and two insurance cards, the report said.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19
- A man said someone broke into his 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix while it was parked in the 18200 block of Cork Road in Tinley Park between 7 p.m. Oct. 18 and 6 a.m. Oct. 19. He told police he was unsure if the car was locked. Missing was his Garmin GPS and $2 in loose coins.
- In the same 18200 block of Cork Road in Tinley, someone stole a Garmin GPS and CDs from a 2004 Honda Accord. The owner said the items were taken around 2:30 a.m., which was the time a home surveillance camera captured footage of a man entering the car.
- Someone entered an unlocked 2008 Honda while it was parked in the 8100 block of Abbey Road in Tinley Park between 9 p.m. Oct. 18 and 7:15 a.m. Oct. 19. A $250 GPS was stolen from the glove box.
- A burglar broke into a woman's car while it was parked on the north side of Frankie's Ristorante, 9501 W. 171st St., Tinley Park, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Stolen was her brown briefcase which had in it her work-related papers and a set of house keys.
- Between 10:10 p.m. and 11:50 p.m., someone broke into a 2003 Honda Civic that was parked at LA Fitness, 18400 Convention Center Drive in Tinley Park. Her purse was stolen. It contained a wallet with three credit cards, a debit card, a checkbook, $60 cash and miscellaneous papers.
- Someone stole a green vinyl bag, iPod, two Texas Instrument calculators, a Gucci watch and a pair of Gucci sunglasses from a vehicle that was parked in the south lot of LA Fitness, 18400 Convention Center Drive. The total value of the stolen items was $1,320, police said.
TUESDAY, OCT. 18
- A burglar broke into a 2002 Dodge four-door while it was parked at Olympia Star, 7100 W. 171st St. between 4 p.m. Oct. 17 and 3 a.m. Oct. 18. The owner's wallet was stolen off the passenger seat. It had in it $600 cash and a TCF debit card.
MONDAY, OCT. 17
- A woman called Tinley Park police to report that around 10:15 a.m., someone smashed the front, passenger side window to her 2004 Chevrolet while it was parked in the lot at LA Fitness, 18400 Convention Center Drive in Tinley Park. Her Coach purse was stolen, the report said.
SATURDAY, OCT. 15
- Sometime between 6 p.m. Oct. 14 and 7:30 a.m. Oct. 15, someone entered an unlocked 2000 Ford Taurus that was parked in the 17700 block of 65th Court in Tinley Park. They stole a $125 pair of running shoes, a $50 Timex heart rate monitor, two thermal shirts valued at a combined $50, a pair of $15 shorts, a $20 nylon gym bag and $230 weight lifting gloves.
TUESDAY, OCT. 11
- A 38-year-old man who parked his van at Comfort Suites, 18400 Spring Creek Drive in Tinley Park, called police after he said that sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., someone shattered the vehicle's window. The owner found the side door ajar and reported at least $2,720 worth of tools missing, including drills, saws and cordless batteries, according to the report.
- A 46-year-old field inspector, parked his GMC work van outside Hampton Inn, 18501 North Creek Drive in Tinley Park, police said. His driver's side front door lock was damaged when he returned to the vehicle around 8 a.m. The 15 items listed as missing totaled about $3,000, the report said. They included a 148-piece tool set, pliers, side cutters, a socket set, and more. He man said he believed someone broke in overnight. Police collected a latent footprint from a piece of white paper in the rear cargo area of the van, the report said.
- Sometime between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., someone broke into a 2008 Ford tow truck. It was parked in the 17300 block of Oriole Avenue, according to the report. A $2,000 tow dolly, $400 tow lights, a $2,000 credit card machine, and a $900 Vius computer were among items stolen. All the missing equipment totaled an estimated $10,305, the victim told police.
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