'Crimes of opportunity'
Police chief: Heroin addicts responsible for many break-ins
Heroin addicts looking for money to feed their fix are responsible for the rash of car break-ins over summer, according to Worthington Police Chief James Mosic.
During June, July and August, a total of 79 vehicles were entered in the city. All but 20 of those were unlocked.
Thieves are taking change and items that could be turned over quickly for cash. Global-positioning-satellite systems (GPS) are especially popular with the thieves.
Patrols have been beefed up, more bike patrols are out at night, and officers have been working overtime to watch residential neighborhoods at night, Mosic said.
Thus far this summer, two men have been arrested in connection with the thefts. Both were heroin addicts, Mosic said.
Officers have stopped others walking around town on heroin, some with pockets full of change, he said.
"We're focusing on a group we have identified, and hopefully, we will have some charges in the near future," Mosic said.
Heroin is inexpensive to buy, he said, thus explaining the large number of thefts of small amounts of change and relatively inexpensive items, Mosic said. Most of the addicts come from north Columbus, and theft-from-vehicle numbers are also up in nearby communities, such as Columbus, Westerville and Genoa Township, he said.
Thieves have not targeted a single neighborhood or area of Worthington, he said.
Thirty-one vehicles have been hit in the district east of High Street and north of state Route 161; 27 in the district south of Route161; and 21 in the district west of High Street and north of Route 161.
The thieves walk around town at night, trying car doors. They break in -- usually by smashing a window -- only if valuables are visible.
Residents and visitors should lock their vehicles and remove everything of value, Mosic advises. They shouldn't leave their keys in their cars either, he said. Thus far, two have been stolen because the thieves found keys.
"These are crimes of opportunity," he said.
Residents also are asked to leave porch lights on at night and to report any suspicious activity to police.