Greenville police target car break-ins in the new year

Updated: Jan. 3, 2019 at 8:01 PM CST
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The Greenville Police Department handed down 13 felony charges for breaking into a motor vehicle at the tail end of 2018.

GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - The Greenville Police Department handed down 13 felony charges for breaking into a motor vehicle at the tail end of 2018.

The charges followed a slew of vehicle break-ins throughout the city. Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn said there were 14 vehicle break-ins between Oct. 1 and Dec. 12. Items stolen ranged from loose change to wallets and firearms. Lovvorn said the crimes were unique because they were committed “in bulk."

“We’d have about six or seven in one night and then six or seven more on another night,” said Lovvorn. “That’s a lot in a 24-hour period for anybody. We noticed it comes and goes in spurts. We’ve had it in the past, about a year-and-a-half ago. We had a large number of break-ins in one night in a couple of neighborhoods. We were able to solve that one. It was actually a group from Lee County. We were able to work with law enforcement in that area and make some arrests on that one."

Lovvorn said, recently, there was a man whose firearm was stolen from his car twice by two separate groups.

The 13 charges were distributed among eight juveniles. Lovvorn said those arrested ranged in age from 14 years old to 17 years old.

While he said the crimes themselves are wrong, Lovvorn believes the burglaries could have been avoided if the vehicles had been locked. In fact, he said in all 14 cases, the vehicle was unlocked.

“Now, there is a type of criminal that will go out and break a window or forcibly enter a vehicle more than likely because they see something in the vehicle they think is worth taking,” said Lovvorn. “That is not the case in any of these that we have been working recently."

Lovvorn encourages drivers to lock their doors. He said it’s equally important for parents to know where their children are and report any criminal activity.

“The worst thing you can do is not do anything and try to keep it to yourself,” said Lovvorn. “Then, you will end up with charges as a parent as well once we track it down.”

Lovvorn said GPD has not charged any parents with contributing to delinquency of a minor in any of these cases. However, he said those charges can come if minors continue to commit the crimes, indicating their parents aren’t monitoring their behavior.

“We always want to work with parents,” said Lovvorn. “We always want to work together to help improve their child’s behavior.”

Lovvorn said he believes the arrests and charges will help deter future car break-ins. However, he said he and his officers are working to be more proactive by increasing patrols and “other tactics” to help prevent car break-ins.

So far, GPD has not received any calls about vehicle break-ins in January.

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