Vehicle break-ins and thefts on the rise in Greene County

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Paragould Police have been working a number of theft cases over the last month and a half.

According to statistics provided to Region 8 News from Detective Mike Addison, residents have reported 63 instances of breaking or entering and 32 cases of residential and commercial burglaries since November 1, 2011. Addison said those numbers are substantially higher than other time periods throughout the year.

"We work theft cases pretty much all year around. The first of November, it starts picking up with the holidays coming around," said Addison. "Car break-ins are a big crime that happens around Paragould. We always deal with store thefts. We work a lot of cases with Walmart."

With the Christmas holiday only a day away, police are warning residents to remain alert and keep in mind that there are people looking to steal your holiday cheer.

"We try to let the property owners know what they can do and shouldn't do. Yesterday was a prime example. I walked out of the courthouse and I saw a car sitting on the side of the road. I walked by it and there was a purse laying right there in plain view," said Addison.

Addison said suspects have been developed in the breaking or entering cases. He said some cases have been closed, but work remains on the others.

"These criminals out here, it's not going to matter (if the doors are locked) because they'll take a fist and knock a window out. They'll take a rock. If they want that purse, they'll get that purse," said Addison. "Your purse, either take it with you or lock it in a trunk. Take your GPS's out and put them in your houses at night. Don't' leave them in plain view, because if you do, they're going to take them."

Addison said criminals have been stealing high dollar items such as car radios and portable DVD players for years. He said this year is no different.

"Somebody got into in our parking lot and stole a radio, some type of radio out of it. It wasn't a city radio, but somebody had their personal XM Radio in there and it came up gone," said Addison. "I read a car break-in report this morning where a lot of those items that were stolen out of that particular vehicle were Christmas presents that were for somebody."

"You're going to see that a lot of our car break-ins, not all of them, but a lot of them, happen on the west side of town, which is our middle to upper class subdivisions," said Addison.

Region 8 News discussed the theft cases with residents in the Carriage Hills area. One woman said she has been a victim of theft before.

"It varies. It seems to be different times of the year. We had some items stolen out of a vehicle we forgot to lock. (It was) unusual, like a pair of shoes and a broken folding safe. Others have had money (stolen). We've had money taken as well," said Kim Phillips. "Nothing high dollar, but I also know people that have had their car stereos taken and that kind of thing as well."

Phillips said one of her main concerns was regarding her trash. She said one woman drove by earlier this month and took her garbage bag.

"We've had trash taken around Christmas time. As far as being in the vehicles and stuff  like that, I can't really say so. I did have one Christmas ornament taken one year," said Phillips.

Phillips said her concern with the garbage was regarding identity theft. She said some people don't shred important personal documents.

"We have a security system, cameras and recording devices where we feel secure. That doesn't always mean that it equates to secure," said Phillips.

Addison said he works closely with local pawn shops and other businesses to keep track on what items are being sold, such as stolen goods. He also said most criminal activity happens at night.

"Most of them are having a hard time making ends meet. (They) claim that they can't get jobs, don't have food and don't have money to pay bills. That's the majority of answers that we get," said Addison.

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