Cedar Rapids Police See Increase in Number of Stolen Vehicles

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Police are seeing an increase in the number of stolen vehicles all across the city.

In the past two months, officers received reports of 49 stolen vehicles. They said the crime has been steadily increasing over the last three years.

From January to the end of July in 2011, 102 vehicles were stolen. In 2012, it was up to 132. Now in 2013, police say that number has jumped to 144.

Police are spreading the word of the trend, so it doesn't continue.

"We've had 42 more cars stolen than two summers ago. So that's really concerning," said Cedar Rapids Police Department's Sgt. Cristy Hamblin.

The list of stolen cars is growing as thieves see more opportunity. Police said it's happening as people become careless and comfortable where they live.

"A vast majority of them have simply had the keys in the car," Sgt. Hamblin said.

Police said reports of stolen vehicles are coming in from every quadrant of the city, and many are happening in residential areas.

It can be a pretty empty feeling when families become a victim. Just a couple weeks ago someone broke into Augusta Grimes' home while her whole family was sleeping. Her son woke up to find items missing inside and outside.

"When he turned around noticed the truck in our driveway was missing. It's a 2013 Chevy Silverado," Augusta Grimes said.

The burglar snatched the keys off the counter. She said police found and returned the truck just hours later. Owner of Budget Car and Truck Rental, Dan Callahan, is also a victim. He's been missing a Honda Civic from the rental lot since the end of June of this year. He said someone came in with a fake ID and fake credit card, left with the car and never came back.

"When we tried to swipe the credit card to get the fee for the rental, that card also was declined and disconnected," said Budget Car & Truck Rental Owner Dan Callahan.

He has since put up cameras to keep a closer eye on everything that happens.

"It's a 2012 Honda Civic, Black, Four-door, So if you see it, I'd love to get it back," Callahan said.

Sgt. Hamblin said about 87 percent of the stolen vehicles are eventually found and returned to their owners.

Police are suggesting a couple of simple ways to prevent this from happening to you. They said to lock your car doors, never leave your keys in the car, park your car in the garage with the door down or park in well-lit areas.
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