KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 17-year-old is suspected of breaking into and stealing from cars in the Hyde Park neighborhood. After he tried to run away, officers caught up with him at 31st and Charlotte streets.
Some people who live there said crimes like that happen so often, they’ve dubbed similar thieves as “The Glass-Smashing Gang.”
Jamel Malone lives on Armour Boulevard and parked overnight on Charlotte Street, where Kansas City Police said about a half-dozen cars were broken into Tuesday morning.
Malone said the thief stole about $30 in cash from him.
"We want to protect each other’s communities and be advocates for the neighborhoods we live in, and it’s hard to do that when we’re terrorizing the streets that we live in," Malone said.
Malone’s neighbors were also hit by the alleged thief.
"This is the third time for us," Michael Veal said.
Veal said his car and his wife’s car were broken into Tuesday. They have two smashed windows to replace. After seeing all of this, Veal’s wife came up with the "The Glass-Smashing Gang" name.
"That's because it's been going on for quite a while all over Hyde Park," Veal said.
KCPD Sgt. Michael Foster said car break-ins happen all over the city, and especially in the central division, which includes Hyde Park, Wesport, the Plaza and Power & Light.
"We have the largest population in one area at one time," Foster said, "so we have the largest number of car break-ins."
Foster said police get more than 100 calls about car break-ins a week. He said there may actually be more instances than that as it’s one of the most under-reported crimes.
Last year, police responded to more than 4,000 reports of thefts from cars all over the city. This year, there’s already been more than 1,200. Foster expects an uptick now with more people doing things outside.
"We’re at the high peak," he said. "It’s warmer weather."
Police are asking people not to leave anything of value in their cars. And if you do, lock it up in your trunk out of sight.