All year Howard County Police have issued periodic warnings about leaving valuables in vehicles, even for a short period of time, after smash and grab incidents began to rise in late 2012.
Police issued the latest warning Thursday after four reports came in Wednesday about car windows being smashed and purses stolen in parked vehicles.
The break-ins happened at child care facilities and a fitness center in Elkridge, Ellicott City and Columbia.
Police reported the following locations were hit:
- Kiddie Academy, 6500 block of Old Waterloo Road, Elkridge, 7 a.m.
- Columbia Academy, 6000 block of University Blvd., Ellicott City, 7:30 a.m.
- Children’s Manor Montessori, 9000 block of Red Branch Road, Columbia, 9 a.m.
- YMCA, 4300 block of Montgomery Road, Ellicott City, 11 a.m.
“We can’t urge people strongly enough not to leave property inside their cars, even if it’s only for a few minutes,” stated Police Chief William McMahon. “We know that in the past, these criminals have waited and watched for a woman to get out of her car without a purse. The moment she leaves the car, they smash the window, grab the bag and are gone.”
On July 31, a Patch reporter witnessed a man smash in car windows at Centennial Park and steal multiple items from two vehicles. Police arrested and charged two Florida men in that incident after a car chase and search through a Columbia neighborhood.
Police asked that to help prevent these types of crimes that women take their purses with them everywhere, even if only running in somewhere for a minute, and if you're a victim to report the theft to your bank immediately.
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