Several are victims of car burglaries

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Fort Scott Police Department is investigating a rash of vehicle burglaries and thefts that have taken place within the last week.

FSPD Chief Travis Shelton said Friday the department has received reports of about 10 incidents that took place at various times throughout the evening hours on Monday and Wednesday.

"We've had close to 10 vehicles broken into where the vehicles were unlocked and rummaged through," Shelton said.

Shelton said many of the cases involve cars only being searched and areas such as consoles and glove boxes being rifled through. Others have involved a variety of items being taken from the vehicles.

One incident involved a dome light bulb being unplugged or disconnected and removed from the vehicle, Shelton said.

"They'll take everything just laying around," that's not locked up or protected inside the vehicle, he said. "We've had wallets missing. One reported a handgun missing. Another was a door left open. Another was rummaged through but nothing was taken."

Shelton said the activity has been taking place at various times throughout the evening hours. He said officers first thought the activity was isolated to one particular area in town, but have discovered break-ins taking place all across the city. Areas hit include the west and south sides of town, and there were a "couple of incidents" on the northeast side of the city.

"The hours are pretty spread across," he said. "People noticed (the break-in) the next morning on their way to work."

Shelton said incidents have taken place in the 1200 block of Burke Street, the 1700 block of Horton, Richards Road, Circle Drive, as well as various parts of Caldwell and Oak streets.

Shelton emphasized the importance of residents keeping vehicle doors locked at night.

"The FSPD reminds citizens to make sure they lock vehicle doors and don't leave valuables in the vehicle overnight," he said. "We've had several cases over the last week where vehicles were entered and gone through. Not every vehicle had something stolen. People are taking an opportunity on unlocked vehicles to go through."

Shelton also said he encourages local residents who witness any suspicious activity to notify the FSPD at (620) 223-1700. The FSPD tips line is 223-1711 for people who have information on crimes.

"We're asking for help from the public and any people seeing suspicious activity in their neighborhood to notify us," he said.

The recent incidents are being investigated and the FSPD has no suspects at this time, Shelton said.