SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Southington Police are warning the public after six thefts from unlocked vehicles at gas stations and one outside a restaurant in town, all in just over a week.
Police say, in each of these incidents the victims’ vehicles were parked, unoccupied, and unlocked at gas pumps as their owners were either pumping gas or shopping inside. Additionally, the stolen property was easily seen from outside of the car, they say.
During each of the gas station thefts, the suspects pulled alongside a victim’s vehicle at the gas pump and quickly removed purses or backpacks that were in plain sight from inside of the vehicle. The suspects then got back in their own vehicle and quickly pulled away from the scene.
The theft incidents that occurred between Sept. 4-12 include:
- Sept. 4 at 8:06 p.m. at Food Bag at 960 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike — Vehicle theft while victim was pumping gas. Suspect vehicle was seized and processed.
- Sept. 6 at 3:47 p.m. at Mobil gas station at 1896 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike — Victim was pumping gas; suspect arrived on scene in a silver Audi Q5, which was confirmed to have been stolen out of Wolcott. Suspect exited passenger door of their vehicle, removed purse from inside of the victim’s car, then sped away. The suspect vehicle was seized and processed.
- Sept. 7 at 10:00 a.m. at Sunoco Gas Station at 398 Main Street — Victim was pumping gas when her purse was stolen out the passenger side of the vehicle.
- Sept. 8 at 4:51 p.m. at Salsa’s Southwestern Grill — Victim went inside of the restaurant. An unknown suspect entered the victim’s vehicle and removed a purse. The suspect is still unknown at this time.
- Sept. 10 at 8:18 p.m. at the T/A Travel Center on Meriden-Waterbury Road — The victim was putting gas into her vehicle when the suspect vehicle pulled up on the opposite side of the victim’s vehicle. A juvenile male exited that vehicle and stole her purse.
- Sept. 12 at 11:04 a.m. at the Mobile at 1896 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike — A purse was stolen at the gas station while the victim was pumping gas. A Black or hispanic male got out of a white BMW SUV, entered the passenger side of the victim’s vehicle, and stole the purse.
- Sept. 12 at 11:20 a.m. at the Food Bag at 960 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike — A black diaper bag was stolen from the front passenger seat of a vehicle while the victim was pumping gas. Same suspect vehicle as the Mobil theft minutes earlier.
Southington Police Department continues to investigate these incidents. If anyone has any information or videos from any motor vehicle burglaries or thefts, please share them with the Southington Police Department Auto Theft Task Force via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law enforcement reminds the public to be vigilant and take steps to keep yourself and your property safe:
- The majority of car break-ins and thefts are from unlocked cars. Make sure to keep your car doors locked whenever you are not in the car.
- Even when you are parked in front of your own home, in your driveway, or inside your garage lock your doors.
- While at gas stations, it is best to remove your keys and lock your vehicle upon exiting to pump gas or enter the establishment.
- Roll your car windows up all the way and engage the car alarm, but do not depend on it as the only way to deter a thief.
- A car thief can break into your car and be out in about 30 seconds, fast enough that an alarm doesn’t scare most of them away.
- Keep your vehicle tidy: hieves like to window shop! Avoid leaving anything visible in the car. Almost any item that’s visible from the outside – even if you think it is worthless – could be seen as valuable to a thief.
- Your spare change, sunglasses, even an empty bag (a thief may think there is something inside the bag) could be valuable in the mind of a thief.
- Stow your electronics and accessories well out of sight, or just take it along with you. The proof alone might be enough to pique the interest of thieves, including items such as power cords, adapters, and GPS windshield suction-cup mounts. If you remove the suction cup, make sure to wipe the ring off the windshield; it’s a dead giveaway that you own a GPS.
- Get in the habit of putting items you want hidden in the trunk of your car before you arrive at your destination. Thieves will linger in busy parking lots looking for you to stash your valuable items.
- Park in a busy, well-lit area and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage.
- Avoid parking in isolated and poorly-lit areas.
And if you witness any thefts you’re asked to call 911 right away and give as good a description of the suspect and their vehicle as possible.