Thefts from vehicles are easy to prevent

Shawn Hardy

The message is simple: Remove valuables from your vehicle and lock the doors.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr., Police Chief John Phillippy and Councilman Larry Faight hosted an informal press conference Tuesday to take a proactive approach to thefts from vehicles.

It is a "crime of opportunity ... overnight marauders looking for easy targets," according to Phillippy, who has only investigated one break-in involving a locked vehicle during his 10 years in Greencastle. In that incident, there was an empty laptop computer box on the back seat.

Thieves take "anything and everything," Phillippy said, listing coins, cash, keys, purses (and everything in them needed for ID theft), credit cards, GPS units and handguns.

The cash can be spent and the credit cards used. Other items find their way to pawn shops or Facebook marketplace and yard sale sites. Things stolen in Greencastle have even turned up at a flea market in West Virginia.

Phillippy's department gets 25 to 50 reports a year and they usually come a bunch at a time.

Greencastle police recently investigated three thefts from vehicles in the borough and Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a number of others in Antrim Township.

When people leave things in their vehicles, they should ask themselves, "Can I live without it?" Faight advised.

"As the public, be wise," Thomas said. "Yes, it does happen in Greencastle. Lock your vehicles. Even in the daytime, remove anything that might be an enticing target."

Thomas reminded people not to leave the keys in their car which, Phillippy noted, is against the law and subject to citation.

Some thefts from vehicles go unreported or people are hesitant to report suspicious activity.

"The best eyes and ears are our citizens," Thomas said.

"If you see or hear something suspicious, call 911," Phillippy urged. "We recommend you report it. When you have a theft from a vehicle you may have the piece of the puzzle that brings everything together."