Police are working to fnd suspects who entered 19 unlocked vehicles and took electronics and other personal belongings in the Churchill neighborhood last Saturday night.
Lieutenant Justin Guthrie said whoever entered the cars took anything of value they could find. He said the items and money taken from the vehicles were worth approximately $7,400.
Right now, the department doesn’t have a suspect.
“We have a 'usual suspects' list,” Guthrie said, referring to being able to pinpoint some likely characteristics of the criminal. “Typically with things like these it’s often somebody local. It’s really rare that someone would leave Garner, Raleigh or Cary to enter a bunch of cars that are open (in Knightdale).”
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The same area experienced a similar rash of break-ins about a year ago, which is why the department thinks they may be looking for a resident of Knightdale, Guthrie said.
Guthrie said he doesn’t recall the police making an arrest for those incidents.
The department was able to find fingerprints on one of the vehicles broken into last weekend and a resident also had an exterior security camera that the department will review when they are able to set up a meeting with the resident.
In the meantime, Guthrie said residents can avoid being targeted in similar crime by locking their car doors.
“That’s the number one most important piece of advice that I can give someone who owns an automobile,” he said. “All of the cars were unlocked, none were actually broken into.”
Guthrie said residents should also take any valuables inside with them. With nothing in the car, it’s likely a criminal would skip over the vehicle, he said.
“If you take that tempting item out and you lock the car door, there’s no point in breaking into an empty car,” he said. “Criminals tend to take the path of least resistance.”
The Churchill Homeowner’s Association also provided tips to residents on its website.
The HOA suggested parking in the garage and contacting Knightdale police if they see any suspicious activity.
The HOA also appears to have its own ‘usual suspects’ list, advising residents to keep a watchful eye over the neighborhood’s teenagers.
“These issues are many times teens from within the neighborhood. Ensure your teens are following curfew and report any teens you see breaking curfew to Knightdale PD,” the website tells visitors.
Anyone with information regarding the incidents can contact Knightdale police at 919-217-2261.