A series of vehicle burglaries in several areas of Fresno prompted Police Chief Jerry Dyer on Wednesday to issue a warning about leaving items in vehicles, especially while shopping or dining.
Dyer, back at work after recuperating for about a month from back surgery, warned of the crime trend during his department’s monthly review of crime statistics with the media. His return prompted the chief to joke that getting back behind a podium and fielding questions gave him a needed adrenaline high.
Three areas of Fresno were being targeted by car burglars, Dyer said. They are the area around Palm and Shaw avenues, where there have been nine recent break-ins; the Shaw Avenue corridor from Palm to Highway 99, with another nine burglaries, and Blackstone Avenue between Gettysburg Avenue and Nees Avenue, where 20 cases were reported.
Purses, backpacks and firearms have been taken in the burglaries, Dyer said. Often the thefts take place while the vehicle is left in a lot while occupants dine at a restaurant. He urged owners not to leave items in plain view. Dyer conceded that thieves often rifle the trunks of cars as well as looking in windows, but said crooks usually want to work fast, so concealing valuables reduces the chance of thefts.
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In a reversal of a relatively long reduction, the chief also warned that there has been a recent uptick in auto thefts of 6.4 percent. So far, that pencils out to 29 more than last year. While older vehicles that are easier to steal are frequent targets of auto thieves, Dyer noted that more than a few of the recent cases involved vehicles that were left to warm up or cars in which the driver left keys.