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Several victims had goods stolen out of their unlocked cars, others had windows smashed

From Oct. 21-31, 26 West Linn residents reported to police that their cars had been burglarized.

Police are working with the victims of these thefts to gather information in hopes of catching those responsible and preventing future burglaries, West Linn Police Public Information Officer Jeff Halverson said.

The majority of cases involved thieves stealing from unlocked cars, though on Oct. 21, four people reported that their car windows were smashed and items ranging from purses to computers were stolen. Each of these thefts occurred within three miles of each other, one in the 19100 block of Willamette Drive, two on Garden Street and another on Lazy River Drive.

On Imperial Drive, five people reported thefts from their unlocked cars Friday, Oct. 25. One person on West Bluff Court reported items missing from their unlocked car Oct. 27; and on Oct. 30, three people reported thefts from their unlocked cars at Hidden Springs Court, Apollo Road and the 19900 block of Willamette Drive. One person on Falcon Drive reported their car window was smashed and a backpack with clothes went missing Oct. 30.

In an effort to curb car prowlers, Halverson said officers have been patrolling residential areas at night and talking to anyone who is out late.

Halloween night saw 12 cars illegally entered or burglarized on Sussex Street, Hunter Way, Hunter Court, Wellington Court, Wellington Drive and Sunset Avenue. Eight of the cars were unlocked, while the owners of the other four were unsure if their cars were locked but noted they were not damaged.

A car was also stolen Oct. 31. The owner of the stolen car said they left the keys in a console and added that someone had gone through their other car but said they weren't sure if anything was stolen.

Other victims also noted that they were unsure if anything was stolen out of their cars, though the owner of a Jeep told police that the prowler left a flashlight behind.

"We can't stress enough: lock your cars, remove all valuables," Halverson said.

The recent burglaries seem to be the latest surge of a car prowling trend that comes in waves, he added.

Halverson also noted that officers also see people leaving key fobs and garage door openers in their cars.

"If you're leaving your car unlocked, you're basically leaving your house unlocked. They might grab your garage door opener and come back when you're not home and you wouldn't even realize it," he said.

The PIO also advised against starting the car and leaving it unattended to warm up on cold mornings.

"No one likes to get into a cold car, but we want your car to still be there, so never leave your car running unattended," Halverson said.

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