Cases of Vehicle Theft on the Rise

Cases of Vehicle Theft on the Rise

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Samantha Hayes reporting Vehicle theft is the number one property crime in the United States. And the number of stolen vehicles in Utah has grown three years in a row.

The bait can be as simple as an after-market stereo system.

Kent Jorgensen/ Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division: "It's on the increase again. For a little while it was starting to go down, or level out. Now it's starting to go up again and the last three years it's up about 11 percent."

And the Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division says in the last six months thefts have increased more.

They say the thefts are usually tied to drug rings, street racing, and now more frequently, identity theft.

Kent Jorgensen/ Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division: "We'll go in and we'll actually find them counterfieting temporary permits, drivers licenses, social security cards, and all sorts of other documentation."

Many auto thefts are organized and involve sophisticated crime rings. But on the other hand, like in Tooele, a 16 year old was recently caught breaking into Honda Civics on his roller blades.

Sgt. Brad Patch/ Tooele County Sheriff's Office: "He told us he would roller blade around until he found one sitting out and then that was his target."

Detectives say in less then 20 seconds, he was inside.

Sgt. Brad Patch/ Tooele County Sheriff's Office: "It's very simple to break into the car. He had a screwdriver, used a key, anything he had like that."

He stole stereos and other valuables then dumped the cars nearby. So detectives set up a Honda Civic and waited.

Sgt. Brad Patch/ Tooele County Sheriff's Office: "We just lucked out to where the suspect roller bladed up toward this Honda Civic and we apprehended him."

In this case, the cars and stolen items were recovered. That only happens about half the time.

Usually there is a spike in auto thefts and burglaries around the holidays. Experts remind us not to leave valubles in cars and to park in well lit areas.

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