A rash of vehicle burglaries in Tooele County has local law enforcement reminding residents how best to protect themselves from becoming victims.
Tooele County Sheriff Lt. Ron Johnson said vehicle burglaries are on the rise in Stansbury Park, with 16 reported between Nov. 16 and the end of the month. The majority have been unlocked cars or vehicles where valuables were visible from the outside, he said.
The sheriff’s office has acquired some video footage of the culprits in vehicle burglaries, according to Johnson.
“We’ve had some surveillance (footage) but haven’t IDed the suspects yet,” he said.
Vehicle burglaries are much higher than usual in Grantsville as well, according to Grantsville City Police Officer Alison Peterson. As in Stansbury Park, most vehicle burglaries are occurring on unlocked cars parked along streets or in driveways.
“More often than not, vehicle burglaries are a crime of opportunity,” Petesron said.
While residents might believe their car is safe from burglary when parked in the driveway, that isn’t the case, Peterson said.
Burglars are interested in typical valuables such as purses, electronics and other items that can be pawned, Peterson said. A concerning item that can also be stolen out of glove boxes and center consoles is firearms.
Peterson said gun owners should remember to remove firearms from their vehicles and secure them when not in use. If a firearm is stolen in a vehicle burglary, it can be traced but is sometimes only found when it’s used in a crime or during a traffic stop, she said.
“That’s not a good way for us to return your firearm,” Peterson said.
Another target for vehicle burglars is personal identification documents, like passports, birth certificates or Social Security cards, according to Peterson. If those items are left in a vehicle, they can be stolen, along with your identity.
Peterson said residents shouldn’t carry important documents like passports with them unless they intend to use the item during that trip and keep them securely in their homes.
Tooele City Police Sgt. Tanya Kalma said during the holiday season, residents should remember to take purchases into the house to avoid them from being stolen by vehicle burglars.
Keeping vehicles off the street to follow the city’s snow plow ordinances and in garages can also help prevent thefts, she said.