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Teen charged with burglaries of unlocked vehicles in Orland Park

 

A 17-year-old Orland Park boy was apprehended and charged last month with multiple counts of burglary of a motor vehicle.

The youth committed the crimes in the area of 17100 block of South Winding Creek Drive and the 16800 to the 17100 blocks of South Steeplechase Parkway late on Aug. 11 and in the early morning hours of Aug. 12, Orland Park police said in a statement last Thursday.

The alleged offender lives on one of those blocks in which the burglaries from autos took place, police added.

Police did not explain why the announcement came more than two weeks after the suspect’s arrest.

“The offender was seen in the area and fled on foot from the police, police said in a release. “He dropped the backpack he was carrying and was caught a short distance later. The backpack contained a number of articles taken from motor vehicles…an iPad, and several wallets and sunglasses.”

Two police officers were injured during the foot pursuit, which resulted in an additional charge of aggravated battery to a police officer, police said.

Police did not say how many vehicles were burglarized, but did say they were all unlocked, prompting them once again to remind everyone to simply lock vehicle doors as a first line of defense against burglary.

The crime is familiar to the surrounding area, including Palos Park and Palos Heights, where a small number of vehicle owners have reported items missing in recent months.

“In this day and age, it seems unbelievable that some people still do not take the simple step of locking the doors of their cars, SUVs, vans and trucks,” said Paul Rutherford of Cook County Crime Stoppers, a not-for-profit organization that offers cash rewards for tips that help solve crimes. (www.cookcountycrimestoppers.org/ online or 1-800-535-STOP via phone.)

“People may not want to admit it, but even in lower-crime communities, there are criminals roaming around, looking for opportunities—and burglary is a crime of opportunity,” he added. “The guy walking up and down the street—or up and down residential driveways or up and down aisles in a parking lot—may be anything from a hardened criminal to a kid looking to support his drug habit.

“Either way, he’s looking for a quick, easy score. Don’t make it easy for him,” Rutherford continued. “If you lock your door, chances are good he will move on to the next vehicle, because the last thing he wants to do is attract attention.”

Rutherford, like many law enforcement officials, encourages everyone to lock doors and take additional steps to thwart car burglars.

* Do not leave valuables in the car, such as a wallet, checkbook, house or car keys, computers, shopping bags with merchandise, and so forth.

* If you must leave valuables in the vehicle, place them in the trunk or similar area that is locked and where they will not be seen from the outside. Even change in a cup can be a temptation for a burglar.

* Take your garage door opener with you. Many times, a burglar will steal a garage door opener as a way to easily burglarize a garage later.

* Consider carrying your vehicle’s registration and “proof of insurance” cards with you. Storing them in an unlocked glove box lets a burglar know who you are and where you live—especially valuable if he has your garage door opener.

 

 

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