Car and mail thefts start to rise on Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island police are seeing a rise in thefts from cars and mailboxes.

Bainbridge Island police are seeing a rise in thefts from cars and mailboxes.

Thefts come in waves to the area, according to Detective Scott Weiss with the Bainbridge Island Police Department.

Bainbridge has developed a reputation and thieves know the island is a good place to target, he said.

“In the past, people who we’ve arrested say that they come to Bainbridge Island because people don’t lock their doors here,” Weiss said.

A good example is a car that was stolen from Washington Avenue around Dec. 23 as its owners were out of town. The car was left unlocked with the keys inside.

More recent prowls are surprising, however, as thieves are getting bolder.

“Windows were smashed and items taken out of the vehicle,” Weiss said.

Two recent smash-and-grabs occurred in the middle of the day on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The passenger side window of a van was smashed and a purse was taken from inside while it was parked at the Library on Madison Avenue.

A second, similar theft occurred in the Island Fitness parking lot the same day. The incidents are still under investigation.

“I would suspect it’s the same person or persons doing this latest rash,” Weiss said. “Most of the time we don’t get people smashing windows and taking stuff. Most of the time it’s unlocked cars. And there are a lot of unlocked cars this time as well.”

“(The thefts) probably have to do with a new person, a new suspect in the area,” he added.

Other prowls have targeted auto shops where cars are left in parking lots overnight.

A car parked at an auto shop on Miller Road was broken into on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Thieves got away with more than an estimated $1,700 in valuables.

Two days later, the rear sliding window of a truck parked at the garage on Miller Road was damaged after someone tried to pry it open, causing approximately $490 in damage.

Four prowls were reported on Jan. 7, including two cars that were broken into while the owners were out for a jog. A car and truck were broken into on Reitan Road two days later.

On Jan. 10, the keys to three cars were stolen from a home on Buckskin Lane. The cars were left behind. All the keys were routinely left in the ignitions of the vehicles, which is where thieves found them.

The owners believed that the thieves may have used them to enter their garage, but were unsure if anything had been taken.

Weiss said that thefts are often related to drugs.

“They trade property, electronics, jewelry straight across for narcotics,” he said. “Or they sell it to get money for narcotics.”

Detectives are currently looking into the recent rash of mailbox thefts and car prowls.

Weiss said that simply locking doors is the best deterrent against the thefts.

“It all comes down to crimes of opportunity,” he said.

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