Car break-ins can and do happen everywhere.
Between March 15 and April 28, a total of 28 cases of burglary and/or damage to vehicles were reported to . Ten of those instances were exclusively damage while the remaining 18 included thefts, and sometimes damage.
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, 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 since March 15. They coincide with the accompanying map, which plots the crime for you.
SATURDAY, APRIL 28
- A woman living in the 16700 block of South Richards Drive said someone damaged her vehicle between 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. The front, passenger-side window of her 2008 Ford Expedition was shattered and the sides of her vehicle were scratched.
- Sometime overnight, someone broke the rear window of a 2009 Jeep Patriot that was parked in the 8400 block of Meadows Edge Drive, police said.
- Between 11 p.m. and midnight, someone shot out the back window of a 2007 Ford F150 truck with a BB gun. Police said the tinting on the vehicle's window held the window together, revealing a small hole "consistent with that of a BB." The vehicle was parked in the 19300 block of Westfield Avenue.
FRIDAY, APRIL 27
A thief entered an unlocked Ford Focus between 5 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday and snagged a man's wallet, which contained his bank card, driver's license and check book. The vehicle was parked in the 7400 block of West 161st Street.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Someone rifled through a car owner's belongings and stole about $20 cash between 7 p.m. April 23 and 8 a.m. April 24. The vehicle, which was parked in the 6600 block of 175th Street, was unlocked at the time of the break-in. It was parked in a driveway.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
A thief stole a GPS unit from an unlocked car between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. The car was parked in the 17500 block of Westbridge Road.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20
Someone punctured the left rear tire of a 2002 Saturn L200 that was parked in the 7900 block of West 163rd Court. The damage occurred overnight, police said.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18
Police said the owner of a Jaguar reported that between 8 p.m. April 18 and 7:30 a.m. April 19, someone scratched the roof, trunk, sides and hood of his vehicle while it was parked in the 8400 block of Kirby Drive.
MONDAY, APRIL 16
A woman said someone keyed her 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe while it was parked in the 8500 block of 167th Street. The damage was done between 9 p.m. April 15 and 7:30 a.m. April 16.
FRIDAY, APRIL 13
- Sometime between 5 p.n. April 12 and 6:30 a.m. April 13, someone damaged and stole from a vehicle parked in the 6500 block of Vogt Street in Tinley Park. The owner said the vehicle's antenna was bent in half and a windshield wiper was broken off. Stolen from the car were two sets of keys—one, a spare for the vehicle and the other, keys to his residence.
- A burglar stole a handicapped placard from a 2011 Honda that was parked in the parking lot at ATI Physical Therapy, 16651 S. Harlem Ave. The theft was between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and the victim said one of his front windows was rolled down a couple of inches at that time.
SUNDAY, APRIL 8
- A man called police to report that someone tried getting into his 2006 Hummer between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. The driver's side front and back door handles had been loosened and damaged, according to the report. No one successfully got into the vehicle. It was parked in the 9200 block of West Spruce Lane.
- Two vehicles —a GMC Voyager and a Jeep—were broken into in the 17800 block of Cloverview Drive between 5 p.m. April 7 and 10 a.m. April 8. The victim said an iPod was stolen from the GMC Voyager, which had a window smashed out. Random items were taken from the center console of the Jeep Wrangler. Police said there were no signs of forced entry to the Jeep.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4
Sometime between 9 p.m. April 3 and 7 a.m. April 4, someone scratched the side of a Chevrolet Silverado that was parked in the 7100 block of 175th Street.
TUESDAY, APRIL 3
- More than $3,500 worth of tools were taken from a utility van that was parked in the 7700 block of Graphics Drive. A witness said that between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., he saw a suspicious green van parked next to the vehicle. The case remained under investigation April 5.
- A Garmin GPS, Best Buy gift card, Dunkin Donuts gift cards, a Mastercard and several dollars in coins were stolen from a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix that was parked in the driveway of a home in the 7200 block of West 170th Street. Police said the theft occurred between 4:30 p.m. April 2 and 7:45 a.m. April 3.
- Someone entered two unlocked cars that were parked in a driveway of the 17000 block of South Oketo Drive between 8 p.m. April 1 and 1 p.m. April 3. Stolen were two iPods, a Garmin GPS and $5 in change.
MONDAY, APRIL 2
Someone slashed four tires on a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. It was parked in the 7100 block of West 170th Street in Tinley Park.
FRIDAY, MARCH 30
- A rear license plate was stolen from a Ford Mustang that was parked in the 7100 block of West Coachwood Trail. Someone took the plate between 4:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
- Between 7 p.m. March 29 and 6 a.m. March 30, someone snagged the rear license plate from a 2005 Chevrolet Van that was parked in the 7100 block of West 166th Street.
THURSDAY, MARCH 29
- Sometime between 9 p.m. March 28 and 7 a.m. March 29, someone entered two cars that were parked in the 16800 block of Gaynelle Road in Tinley Park. Officers said they believed both vehicles may have been left unlocked at the time of the theft. Missing were three or four cellular phones the owner was taking to donate to charity, a Puma bag containing books and a checkbook, miscellaneous change and an iPod charger.
- A thief used a "slim jim" to pry open the door of a vehicle that was parked in the 6200 block of West Laura Lane. Officers said they knew the method of the break in because of scratches they found near the roof of the vehicle by the door frame. The break-in occurred between 5 p.m. March 28 and 8:50 a.m. March 29. Missing were ID and credit cards, a men's leather wallet, men's cologne and an engraved lighter.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24
- Police said that sometime between March 15 and March 24, someone shattered the back window of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata parked in the 7900 block of Glenfield Avenue in Tinley Park. Nothing appeared missing at the time the incident was reported, but police were investigating.
- A woman called police after she realized her purse missing from her vehicle, which was parked in the 7400 block of West 167th Street. She said she left the car alone for about 30 minutes to take her dog for a walk in Siemsen Meadows and returned to find her Coach purse, which was sitting on the floorboard, missing. It contained an $840 iPod, several credit and debit cards and a driver's license, according to the report. It was taken between 3:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
- An employee at Community GMC, 8325 W. 159th St., found two vehicles in the dealership's parking lot sitting on wooden blocks around 9 a.m. A total of six new wheels were stolen off two 2012 GMC Denali models, police said. The theft occurred overnight.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21
Someone broke the rear window of a 1999 Ford Explorer while it was parked in the lot at LA Fitness, 18400 Convention Center Drive. Police suspect the break-in occurred between 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. It wasn't clear what was missing.
SATURDAY, MARCH 17
Sometime between 8:30 p.m. March 16 and 12 a.m. March 17, someone entered two unlocked vehicles in the 17000 block of South Oketo Avenue. Missing were two GPS units, $22 cash and an 18-inch 22 carat gold necklace with an attached gold Koran pendant.
THURSDAY, MARCH 15
A local woman said that sometime between 11:45 a.m. and 1:40 p.m., someone stole her laptop from her car while it was parked in a lot at Sanford Brown College, 8525 W. 183rd St. The woman said the laptop was left on the passenger side floorboard in its case.
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