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LaPorte County Police warn community of car thefts

WSBT 22

Authorities say they're taking action after a string of car thefts across LaPorte County.

More than 100 cars have had electronics, money and other items stolen.

Police say there is one sure way to deter these thieves. In almost every case, the burglars targeted cars that were unlocked.

Police officials are now imploring people in the community to not only lock their doors but keep an eye on what's going on in their neighborhoods.

They believe one group is responsible for the string of crimes. Nothing is off limits when it comes to what attracts these criminals.

"While you may pay $150 to $200 for it, they're going to trade it for $5 or $10 so something that may be of high value for you, the best thing you can do is to keep that locked up, and secured up,” said Captain Michael Kellems of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department.

Jacqueline Leal is a Senior at LaPorte High School. She says people have to be more aware of locking their doors.

"Be conscious of your surroundings and be more aware that things like this are going to happen and lock your doors,” she said.

Not only do the criminals target expensive items but they're also known to steal weapons. That has become a huge issue for the police department.

"That's a major concern for us, you now have a firearm that's out there in the hands of a criminal and we know from past practices a lot of these firearms end up in Chicago. We know the problems in Chicago we experience. Firearms should always be kept on your person or secure inside of a residence. The last thing we want to see is some tragedy because a firearm was left out and got in the hands of the wrong person,” Kellems said.

If guns weren't a big enough concern, Kellem's says the items stolen are usually sold for drugs or cash to buy them.

"We know that a lot of thefts just like our burglaries, are tied to the drug trade so they're going to take things that can be easily traded for drugs or quickly turned into cash to buy drugs,” he said.

Kellems says the department has a good lead on who these people are. They're working with other police departments to compare notes and devise a plan to catch the group.

Meanwhile, he says that making noise is the best deterrent to scare off the thieves.

If anything looks unusual you should always call the police.

Anyone that has information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (219) 326.7700 or Michiana Crime Stoppers at (800) 342.STOP ( 7867).

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