Winslow Park Hit By Smash-And-Grabs

Last month, Westport was jolted by a series of home break-ins in Greens Farms.

Now, it’s cars being hit at Winslow Park.

An “06880” reader reports that at least 5 windows have been smashed — and personal belongings stolen — while people walk their dogs nearby.

She loves Winslow Park because of the community she’s found there. An eclectic group of dog owners welcomed her in (and invited her to their “Yappie Hour”).

This summer, she became aware of the “smash-and-grab” break-ins. They occurred in the Westport Country Playhouse lot.

A month ago, a woman who parks in the small North Compo lot was hit.

It happens in broad daylight, with people coming and going with their dogs.

Winslow Park. Smash-and-grab thieves have made dog walkers bit fearful.

Smash-and-grab thieves have made Winslow Park dog walkers a bit fearful.

The “06880” reader suggests surveillance cameras. She also thinks that cutting down bushes would help make cars more visible to passersby. Of course, it’s common sense to not leave anything of value on your car seat or floor, visible to anyone.

Notices have been posted on the “Winslow Park Small Dogs & Friends” Facebook page. The reader says that publicity is essential. More people need to know this is happening — and the thief or thieves must know that people know.

“Winslow Park should be a happy place for everyone,” she says. “Not a place of fear.”

7 responses to “Winslow Park Hit By Smash-And-Grabs

  1. I was there when it happened, along with several others from the dog group. We were frustrated that no one saw or heard anything, and heartbroken to witness the faces of the victims. It’s hard to realize that we may have been lucky in that no one was hurt. The threat is not just to dog owners and purses. Our friends and neighbors, young and old, visit the park. How many more incidents need to be reported before action is taken?

  2. Joyce Barnhart

    Car owners can discourage such acts at least a little by leaving nothing visible inside their cars and locking the glove compartment . I’m always surprised when police reports mention valuable things stolen from unlocked cars at the railroad station. Locking your car won’t prevent the “smash” part, but if there’s nothing of value available, it might prevent the “grab” and maybe the thief/thieves will go someplace else.

  3. Carol Lupo-Simek

    I walked at Compo Beach yesterday and even though I could have hidden my handbag in in the back of my car, I choose to walk with it. These days, I’m not taking any chances.

  4. Elisabeth Rose

    For the cost of taking down trees and bushes, which I think is an awful idea (because who wants to look at a parking lot?), for the same amount or probably less the town could install two small cameras in the trees. They don’t cost much and certainly nowhere near what it costs to take down trees.

    Another idea would be to have friends who normally congregate in the center of the field hang out at the two parking lot points, changing “shifts” as the day goes on, so some people can walk and then hang out a bit, and so on. That way maybe people will be able to catch the thieves in the act and even get a photo or video on their cell phones. Kind of like a “neighborhood watch,” only temporary. (Of course once it gets colder people aren’t going to want to sit still but will want to keep moving…)

    My gut feeling, however, is that this is not going to go on indefinitely. I would think, like in so many of these cases, that the “perps” will move on to another place, especially when they realize people and the police are on to them.

  5. Charlie Haberstroh

    Town officials are aware of these break-ins and needless to say (but I will), the Westport Police are “on the case”. If anyone has any information, please call the police at 203-341-6000. Police and park officials are evaluating what additional measures, if any, will address the situation at Winslow. In the meantime the police strongly urge that folks do NOT leave anything in the body of cars parked anywhere in town and ensure that cars are locked.

    Charlie Haberstroh
    Chairman, Westport Parks and Recreation Commission

  6. This same thing happened to me at Cranbury Park in Norwalk a year ago. It is a nationwide crime syndicate called “Felony Lane Gang.” They target parks and gym parking lots because they know women leave their purses inside at these two places. They are looking for check books and have members disguised as people they have already robbed waiting. As soon as they get a check book they write checks in the names of those previous victims and send their look alikes with the stolen driver’s license through the farthest lane of the drive thru (felony lane) to cash the checks. They had cashed about $10,000 worth of checks on my account before I called the bank.

  7. Gloria Gouveia

    Doesn’t a broken window activate the car alarm?