Since last month, nearly 100 vehicles in Lincoln County have been targeted by thieves, investigators said, including more than 30 this week.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, detectives are once again at work looking into cases of vehicle break-ins involving unlocked vehicles.
At least 31 vehicles were broken into on Tuesday in the Boger City area, specifically along Woolie Road, Green Acres Road, Sunny Hills Drive and Ralph B. Keener, deputies said.
Residents woke Tuesday morning to find wallets, electronics and other items missing from their vehicles and called the Sheriff’s Office.
Since March, more than 95 vehicles have been targeted east of Boger City, according to an agency press release, including areas off of N.C. 27 and 150.
Sheriff’s Office officials have warned residents on multiple occasions to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior near vehicles parked in neighborhoods located in and around the two major roadways.
Lieutenant Tim Johnson, head of the agency’s Major Crimes Unit, noted the reason for the high number of break-ins is simple and preventable.
“People keep leaving items visible and vehicles unlocked,” he said. “Our citizens are making it easy for the thieves to steal their personal belongings.”
Johnson revealed that this year is the first time in his investigative career he has had to look into an overwhelming number of vehicular break-ins.
“Not in the 24 years I have been here (at the Sheriff’s Office) that I can recall,” he said.
No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.
In addition to locking vehicles and keeping valuables in hidden locations, residents are reminded to park in well-lit areas, install motion lights at their property and listen for cues a thief may be nearby.
“Pay attention if yours’ or your neighbors’ dogs are barking,” Johnson said. “Several people have said their dogs were barking and they heard car doors opening and closing.”
Yet, even with such noise clues, no residents contacted law enforcement immediately but went back to sleep, deputies said.
“We would rather check for suspicious activity than process vehicles all day for fingerprints,” Johnson said in the release.
Anyone who spots suspicious behavior or has knowledge of previous vehicular break-ins in the county is urged to call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 732-9050, the Communications Center at (704) 735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at (704) 736-8909.