POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) – Detectives at the Poplar Bluff Police Department said Wednesday they are investigating a string of vehicle break-ins over the last few weeks. According to Det. Leigh Morgan, there have been 22 reports filed since August 1, 2010. Morgan said that's an unusual number of reports for an agency that averages two reports every few weeks.
"Anywhere from purses, wallets, change, electronics, stereo equipment, random things," said Morgan.
Morgan said these types of crimes are difficult to solve because the oftentimes occur late at night and have no witnesses.
"There is usually little evidence left behind and the only thing we really have to go on is if they possibly sell the stolen items to somebody or it turns up in a pawn shop," said Morgan. "Due to the fact that there's such abundance in such a short amount of time, we believe it might be a small group of people."
Brad Johnson said he became a victim a fourth time.
"There was an incident where I found a cell phone that didn't belong to me, did not belong to anybody I know in my vehicle," said Johnson. "Nothing was broken on my vehicle, just checked the door handles and just entered the vehicle and took what they wanted."
Johnson reported a bottle of cologne stolen, as well as his son's portable video game console. He estimated the property loss at more than $400.
"He had just gotten it. That's the bad part about it. He was heartbroken. As soon as he got word of it, he started crying," said Johnson.
"Anything valuable that they may be able to trade or sell for money for other things such as narcotics," said Morgan. "Make sure and lock your doors and do not leave anything in your vehicle because some of these break-ins have been actual break-ins where they've broken a window or damaged a lock to enter the vehicle."
"It makes me a little more protective of my belongings, my house. Making sure everything is locked, looking around the corner," said Johnson.