This weekend was a bad one in north Jefferson County for people who left their car doors unlocked.
The Gardendale Police Department received 12 reports of unauthorized breaking and entering vehicles (UBEV) on Saturday, while the Fultondale Police Department had about six UBEVs on Sunday.
Gardendale Police Lt. Bryan Lynch said most, if not all, of the vehicles in the Gardendale incidents had been left unlocked.
“Most of these [suspects] just go down the street, trying car doors. If one is locked, they move on to the next one,” Lynch said. “It just blows my mind; people leave guns, wallets, medicine, cash and keys in their cars.”
Lt. Phillip Mangina with the Fultondale Police Department agrees, and added that some of the Fultondale cases had doors unlocked, windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition.
Most UBEV incidents happen at night, Lynch said, adding that suspects choose unlocked cars because they do not want to set off alarms or smash in windows and risk waking up neighbors.
Friday night’s break-ins happened on Garst Drive, Hall Avenue, Pebble Creek Drive, Circle Lane, Hunter Brook Court, Summit Court and English Village Circle.
Lynch said it is unclear if all of the incidents are related, but said they could be since they all happened on the same night.
There were actually more than a dozen attempts; some residents reported their vehicle doors were found open Saturday morning, but nothing had been taken.
“Almost always, drugs are a factor. Drug addicts are trying to make money,” Lynch said. “People would help us out tremendously if they would just lock their doors and don’t leave valuables in the car.”
“We’re just begging people, lock your cars,” said Sgt. D.P. Smith of the Fultondale Police Department. “[The suspects] are being very successful because people are helping them out by leaving their cars unlocked.”
“Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety,” Lynch said. “We have patrols out there, but the suspects are on foot on a dark street. They can see [police] coming, and duck and hide.”
Officers with both departments ask that individuals call the police department immediately if they see or hear anything suspicious in the middle of the night.
Anyone with information about the UBEVs is asked to call the Gardendale Police Department at 631-8787 or the Fultondale Police Department at 849-5456.