Odessa battling auto theft on the rise

Odessa battling auto theft on the rise

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - 41 cars are stolen every month in the city of Odessa. That's been the average for the past couple of years. According to police, it's recently its gotten even worse.

Last month alone Odessa residents were victims to 57 car thefts and 96 cars were broken into, but keep in mind these are only some of the crimes reported to police.

"Now we're seeing burglaries at all times of the day, all times of the night, even during lunch time," said Odessa Police Department Sergeant Caleb Lacey. "The largest group that we've seen doing these burglaries are high school kids or in their early 20s."

Officials say teens are going out during school hours or school nights breaking into cars, stealing cars and stealing property from cars.

"I think mostly it's just kids being bored looking for something to do," said Patrick Allison, who was a victim of one of the burglaries. "It's been happening so often that I don't know what else they could do."

In Allison's case surveillance footage showed the culprits. Authorities say it's one step closer to catching the bad guys.

"Those [video/pictures] can be great tools we can use to get out onto social media sites to get out on the internet that way people can start looking for these suspects with us," said Lacey.

80 percent of stolen cars are found. OPD says they continue to see a pattern happening. Stolen cars are dropped off in a different place where the brazen thieves can scout out new goods to take.

"Usually they are drivable, there's no damage their maybe some trash or drug paraphernalia inside but typically they're in good condition," said Lacey.

Earlier today officers placed reminder posters at several businesses remind you how to prevent car burglaries:

  1. Do not to leave the engine running if only for a few minutes
  2. Do not to leave eye catching items in sight or in the car
  3. Never leave a spare key hidden
  4. Never leave the windows down
  5. Always lock your car

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