An alert and concerned “06880” reader writes:
I learned this weekend from neighbors that there were 3 car break-ins on my street (Hunt Club Lane, near Long Lots) 2 weeks ago. A friend posted on Facebook that locked cars were broken into, and a locked car was stolen on her street.
The police told the Westport resident whose car was stolen that there is a trend in stealing Audis. If you’ve taken your car in for service to certain dealerships, car keys are being copied, addresses noted and cars being stolen.
Police advice to our neighbors was to lock cars, remove garage door openers from cars, and park them (especially Audis) in the garage. They also noted that these individuals may be armed, so be careful. Pretty scary.
Also scary that the 3 break-ins on my street, although reported to police, were not found via public search of crimes in our area. So the crime statistics seem to be under-reported.
I asked the Westport Police Department to respond. Lieutenant David Farrell got back immediately. He says:
In the past 6 months, Westport has had 18 stolen vehicles. Fifteen were recovered and processed by detectives. Six arrests have been made. Detectives are awaiting lab results on 8 other cases.
All stolen vehicles were unlocked, with the keys inside the vehicles. We urge residents to do their part, and lock their vehicles.
The nights when these vehicles were stolen, there were several motor vehicle break-ins as well. There have been 14 arrests in these cases. Many were linked to a juvenile who had also stolen a car in the area, and was caught. The police currently have active warrants and potential leads in other cases.
Press releases regarding arrests are sent out. The most recent was last week. Some arrests have even been made using DNA hits. Westport is one of the few police departments in the state collecting DNA from recovered stolen vehicles.
I could not agree more that heightening awareness regarding this trend is necessary. That is why we have released several public service announcements advising people to lock their car doors and bring keys and fobs inside. We have put the same message on our Facebook page.
Westport is not alone in being targeted. Every surrounding town is experiencing the same crimes. We continue to partner with our neighboring towns to work on this problem.
The Westport Police Department is actively addressing this issue. We have the full support of the selectman’s office regarding additional resources when needed. Extra officers and detectives are frequently assigned to the midnight shift in an effort to not only catch the perpetrators, but hopefully deter the crime before it occurs.
We don’t want the bad guys to know our secrets. But rest assured, we are doing all we can.
Regarding the information about Audis and dealerships: Although this type of crime exists, we have not experienced it in Westport.
Nearly all of the vehicle break-ins here have been unlocked cars. The trend is to pull door handles until one is found unlocked. Then the criminal simply pushes the start button, hoping the fob was left in the car. Gone are the days of actually breaking into a vehicle and compromising the ignition.
We will continue to do our part, as we always do. We hope the public does their part: lock all doors, bring keys inside, keep outside lights on, and call 911 immediately if suspicious activity is observed.