Car thieves target Piper suburbs

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Police are warning residents to keep their cars locked after a rash of break-ins. 

The recent thefts could be called ‘crimes of opportunity’ because they all have one thing in common - all the cars were unlocked.  

Over the last three weeks, a Piper suburb has seen a handful of car burglaries.

"Six car burglaries in three weeks, you know, what are the circumstances surrounding the car burglaries," said Kansas City, Kansas Police Department Chief Terry Zeigler. 

Zeigler said the suspects seem to be targeting vehicles that are unlocked and left out overnight. That’s not out of the ordinary for this suburban neighborhood.

"Seemingly super safe area. Kids ride their bikes up and down and their scooters and everyone waves and smiles and half the garage doors are up and like I said, I'd imagine most of the car doors are unlocked or were previously," said Henry Wulfekoetter. 

Wulfekoetter said one of his cars was broken into right under his nose.

"We were home, so we would have been asleep right up there when they came by," said Wulfekoetter. 

He said it happened the night of July 9, two weeks after the first theft was reported in the same area.

"You know it was strange that the one time we've had that car parked outside was the night it got robbed, so somebody's checking on things it seems like," said Wulfekoetter.

Wulfekoetter said it wasn’t even a month prior to the break-in that his home was a target.

"We had seen somebody running off our driveway a few weeks past, maybe three. They got into like a white Honda, and kind of didn't speed away but got in the car and left because my car was locked," said Wulfekoetter. 

Wulfekoetter said the thieves didn’t hit the jackpot, but they did get away with a few things after rummaging through his car.

"They took all the change. They took a Garmin GPS unit, and I think they took a couple other odds and ends like some sunglasses and stuff, some $5 sunglasses and that kind of stuff," said Wulfekoetter. 

Material items are the least of his worries. It’s identity theft that he said he's concerned about.

"That was what we were most worried about, did we have anything in there that could lead to identity theft. Much more worried about that than I was about, you know, material properties that were in there," Wulfekoetter. 

Wulfekoetter said his wife left a message with KCK police about the break-in.

"We're just not necessarily trying to get any of our stuff back, just seeing what can be done so that it doesn't happen again," said Wulfekoetter. 

KCK police are still investigating the thefts. Over the weekend, Zeigler reacted on Facebook, stating residents in the targeted area should be locking their cars, homes, and keeping their garage doors closed when they’re not home.

Zeigler also suggested the community start their own neighborhood watch group. 

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