PV Police: Lock your car, take your keys or thieves could strike

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- Prairie Village Police are urging drivers to lock their car doors after a recent rash of thefts from vehicles.  There have been nearly 20 incidents reported since the middle of October where thieves have taken valuables that were left in vehicles or even went as far as stolen the cars because the keys were left inside.

In all of the cases, doors of the vehicle had been left unlocked.  And that's why police want car owners to start securing their property.  Police said the thieves were not breaking windows or jimmying doors.  They just want easy targets.

"I would encourage everyone to lock their cars," said Capt. Tim Schwartzkopf of the Prairie Village Police Department.  "Remove all valuables so there's nothing visible. Don't leave keys or a spare key inside your car to make it easy for the criminal."

The latest incident happened just after midnight Tuesday when police officers chased suspects in a red Ford F-250 pickup truck with a camper shell bearing Missouri license plates.  The pursuit happened in a neighborhood along 71st Street between Roe and Tomahawk avenues.

The thieves took cash, a laptop and other valuables left in several unlocked vehicles parked on 71st Terrace.

"Both of our cars had been broken into," Jen Attebery, one of the victims told FOX 4 News. "They were both unlocked, because we assume we live in a safe neighborhood. We forget about those kinds of things. And they had really just rifled through, tore everything out of the glove box. Everything out of the console. Everything out of everything."

In comparing notes with other law enforcement agencies, the Prairie Village Police Department had learned that there's been a similar rash of auto burglaries north of the river in Clay County, Missouri.  The getaway car in those incidents was also described as a red Ford F-250 pickup truck with a camper shell. In the Missouri cases, firearms and other weapons have been stolen.

Law enforcement officials have a Missouri license number of OHC-209. But they believe that license plate also may be stolen.

If you see the suspicious truck prowling around your neighborhood, call the TIPS hotline.  Or if you're in Prairie Village, call 911 and the police department will dispatch patrol officers to immediately check out your report.

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