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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Santa Clarita

Police Report Rash of Auto Burglaries

February 13, 2001|CAROL CHAMBERS

Vehicle burglaries have risen sharply in recent weeks, and authorities suspect two groups of teens may be to blame.

"We're really getting hammered with this here. We took 24 reports [Monday]," said Lt. Tim Peters of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Santa Clarita station. "People just need to be aware and be really vigilant in reporting anything suspicious."

Last month, 70 vehicle burglaries were reported--a 75% increase over the 40 reported in January 2000, Peters said. In a city that annually ranks among those with the fewest crimes in the nation, the numbers are disturbing, he said.

The Saugus and Canyon Country areas have been hardest hit, although the thieves have struck in every area of the valley, Peters said. It appears two groups of thieves--probably in their teens or early 20s--are responsible.

Most of the crimes have occurred between 8 p.m. Sundays and 6 a.m. Mondays, but Thursdays also have been popular nights for car burglaries, he said.

The thieves usually target Hondas, Toyotas, Fords, Chevrolets and Nissans, and break in by smashing windows or prying open doors. They appear to be after stereos, CDs, backpacks, money and other loose items, but the cost of damage to the vehicles frequently exceeds the value of whatever is stolen, Peters said.

Although none of the stolen property has turned up in the Santa Clarita Valley, Peters said parents should take note.

"If your kid shows up with a new stereo and can't produce the paperwork to go with a purchase, be suspicious," he said. "A deal that is too good to be true probably is."

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