Newport police investigate car break-in spree

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – The Newport Police Department is investigating a recent string of car break-ins, and all the incidents occurred within blocks of each other near Brandenburg Lane.

Police responded to six different car thefts Friday morning on Eastern Avenue. Four more occurred down the street on Minor on December 11. Police call it a crime spree and say someone is targeting the neighborhood, but very little is being taken.

"There's really been nothing too significant taken," Lt. Patrick Weatherford said. "The vehicle's been pilfered through and rummaged through, but, in one of last night's incidents, there were a couple of guns stolen from the vehicle."

Mary Davis has lived at the corner of Eastern and Minor in Newport for almost 20 years.

"All the neighbors kind of watch out for each other, and everybody kind of has each other's back," Davis said.

She calls the neighborhood crime-free, until recently. Davis brought home a new car earlier this month and accidentally left it unlocked overnight.

"I noticed that all of my glove compartments and the consoles were open, and things were kind of tossed out into the floor," Davis said about what she discovered the next morning.

Three other neighbors found their cars rummaged through, but not much had been taken.

"Just the fact that somebody had been on our property and prowling around kind of scares you," she added.

Crowded parking lots around town were the target of several break-ins last year, but Newport police say someone is now brazen enough to check the front porches and driveways in neighborhoods.

"Every year, around the holidays, we tend to see an uptick in break-ins of vehicles," Weatherford said.

He is now investigating 10 incidents. All the vehicle owners live within blocks of each other and usually report only small items missing.

"There were things such as purses or guns left in vehicles that were in plain view," Weatherford said. "That's just an invitation, a temptation to the thieves that are looking in your car at night when you're in bed asleep."

Police also learned every victim left their cars unlocked, a mistake that inspired Davis to step up security. She added pad locks to her back gates, new security lights on her house and thinks twice about leaving her car unlocked.

"I won't leave a door unlocked, not even in the daytime," Davis said.

Weatherford says there are likely more victims who have yet to report to police. He asks them to come forward and encourages neighbors to look out for each other and their belongings.

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