by KIM HILSENBECK
Shattering the illusion that residents live in Mayberry, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office confirmed several cases of minor thefts from primarily unlocked cars in the Chaparral Park neighborhood in Northern Hays County.
Not all of the thefts were reported to the sheriff’s office. However, members of the neighborhood’s Yahoo Groups (an email network for residents living in that area) sent around warnings of thefts and reminders to lock vehicles based on their personal experience of having something pilfered from a car or truck recently.
Beginning Aug. 19, neighborhood emails show at least six homes where cars or trucks were targeted. All were parked in driveways and unlocked. In most cases, the center console was rummaged through and left open, making it obvious someone had been inside the vehicle.
Stolen items, based on the group email exchange, include iPods, cash and an iPod charger. In three cases, one on Dove Drive, the other on Robin Road, email posters said their vehicle was gone through but nothing was missing.
Aimee Rye, who lives on Dove Drive, sent out a note to the group saying her car was also violated (and unlocked).
“Things were tossed about, but the only thing I could find stolen was the charger for my iPhone,” Rye wrote.
She later posted that she learned her husband’s car had also been targeted and his iPod was stolen.
Another neighborhood resident, Vanessa Escobar, said she saw three younger teenagers walking down the street before discovering her husband’s car had items taken from it. The woman and her husband did not recognize the teens; however, she said she did not think it was odd since kids walk around the neighborhood frequently.
Angela Streeter, a resident of the Chaparral Park community for eight years, wrote to the group, “I think we have become complacent in our neighborhood because there is not a lot of ‘crime’.”
One group email writer said his daughter and her family, who live in Creekside Park off of FM 967, also had items stolen from their cars last Sunday. There has been no confirmation that the incidents are related or thefts committed by the same person or persons.
Detective Mike Chance of the Sheriff’s Office said he cannot stress enough to residents in neighborhoods to take valuables out of their vehicles and lock them.
A commenter from the Chaparral group said even reaching into the bed of a pickup truck is a third degree felony so locked or unlocked, it’s still a crime.
An email from Judge Beth Smith in response to the Crime Spot report from the sheriff’s office on Aug. 23 offered another reminder.
‘Definitely an increase in car burglaries,” Smith wrote. “Please think, prior to going to bed each night, about what’s in your cars? Are they locked?”