North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

June 24, 2013

String of auto break-ins reported in Gardendale on Friday night

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — Friday was a bad night in Gardendale for people who left their car doors unlocked.

The Gardendale Police Department received 12 reports of unauthorized breaking and entering vehicles (UBEV) on Saturday.

Lt. Bryan Lynch said most, if not all, of the vehicles 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.”

He said most UBEV incidents happen at night, 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.”

He said people would be helping themselves, too.

“Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety,” he 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.”

Lynch asks that individuals call the police department 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.