EASTLAKE, Ohio — OK, here’s the deal. It’s quite simple. If you own a car, lock the doors when you get out of it. Don’t leave it unlocked, especially with your wallet, purse or car keys inside. But don’t take it from us, listen to the police. They will tell you the same thing.
Just last night, Eastlake police responded to the area of East 346th Street near Glen Drive after several people were seen driving around in a car without headlights on, stopping and going up to random cars. The vehicle then drove off.
A nearby Willowick officer spotted the car driving down Vine Street and initiated a traffic stop since it was driving without headlights on. Police said it appeared that five juveniles were in the car. The officer chased the vehicle a short distance until it left the freeway down an exit ramp in the wrong direction, and the chase was called off.
Back on East 346th Street, officers located four vehicles that were unlocked and had been entered.
“Please let this serve as a reminder that you still need to lock your cars every night. Make sure your doors and windows are locked as well,” Eastlake police said in a statement. “This incident had the potential to effect (sic.) more residents, if it weren’t for an observant resident who recognized something was suspicious and called EPD. “
This isn’t the first time police have made a public service announcement about incidents like this. It's a story News 5 has done multiple times.
Back in November 2020, Broadview Heights police warned residents about it after several people reported their cars were stolen right from their driveways. In those incidents, all of the vehicles were unlocked and had keys left in them.
In October 2020, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office also asked residents to not leave their cars unlocked and to never leave your garage door openers accessible.
That same month, Twinsburg police released the statement of a 17-year-old who was allegedly part of a group of people that steals cars that were left unlocked.
“It’s just that those people out there are stupid because they leave their keys in there,” the teen said, according to police.
That teen told police that car thieves drive around neighborhoods looking for unlocked cars, and they often find cars with their keys still in them as well as a garage door openers to the homes.
Police said the teen told them that these types of car thieves are not deterred by dogs, security cameras, floodlights or fences.
And it’s easy for them to do so. Little effort is needed, no windows have to be broken etc., because people simply leave their cars unlocked with keys inside.
Avon Lake police also reported similar incidents in September 2020. According to the department, multiple thefts occurred overnight, and the thieves targeted unlocked vehicles.
Here are some tips we shared last year from Twinsburg police on how to prevent being a victim of theft:
Lock your vehicle doors (even when parked in your garage but especially when parked in your driveway)
- Remove your keys/key fob from your vehicle.
- Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle.
- Close your vehicle windows when parked.
- Secure your garage door opener in your locked glove box when your vehicle is parked.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially if they can be seen from outside the vehicle. If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, secure them in the glove box or trunk.
- If your vehicle is so equipped, always engage your car alarm/anti-theft system when parked (even when parked in the garage).
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