Home Mantua News Residents taking extra precaution following string of thefts from cars

Residents taking extra precaution following string of thefts from cars

With a common theme being unlocked cars and visible items of value, residents are making sure their doors are locked and to remove personal items.

Still captured from a resident’s security camera of what appears to be the woman suspected of stealing items from cars (Special to The Sun).

After a recent string of belongings being stolen from cars, residents in Mantua are starting to take caution to prevent future thefts.

In the week of July 22, the police department said roughly 11 cars were burglarized in the Snowy Owl development with a few others occurring in the Timbercrest development, which is nearly a mile down the road.

Resident Arlene Lepre had items stolen from her husband’s car, which she said he forgot to lock.

I didn’t file a report because I didn’t feel like it was necessary,” Lepre said. “I thought it was maybe some kids in the neighborhood. At the time, I was the first person to mention it in the [crime watch] group. But now I’m realizing it’s happening, and it’s happened to other neighbors and developments.

In the nearby Snowy Owl development, resident Albert Palmieri said his cars were not burglarized, however, his security cameras caught who the police believes to be a suspect jiggling his car doors and leaving.

Ravenswood Way - Snowy Owl - Suspect Video

I happened to be getting coffee and noticed we had cameras on the house,” he said. “I reviewed the footage, and the suspect tried to get in all three of the vehicles and she moved on.”

Lt. Brian Grady of the Mantua Township Police Department said it’s a common deterrent for suspects to stop trying to enter a car when it’s locked.

We have seen videos of surveillance cameras in the past where you can see suspects pulling door handles and if the doors are locked, they simply walk away to find a different car that is unlocked,” he said.

Having 11 cases of items stolen from cars has caused a stir in an online crime watch community and has made residents like Lepre be more cautious and aware of their surroundings.

I live on a cul-de-sac and that peace of mind is now gone,” Lepre said. “To get to where I live, is a dead end. Usually the whole development is small and the only time people come down is if they live here. I’ve never heard of any robberies or cars broken into and we talk to our neighbors often.

She added she and her husband have since been checking to make sure their cars are secured and to leave their porch lights on, but Palmieri said for the recent theft, it didn’t seem to discourage the suspect.

Looking through all of the videos, it didn’t stop her that we had spotlights on her all or at other homes,” he said. 

Palmieri said, for his development, the burglaries aren’t common. He added his wife’s family has resided in the township for nearly 25 years, and it’s the first time he’s heard it happen to multiple residences’ cars in one night.

Grady said Mantua will sometimes “go months without a burglary, and then all of a sudden, a subject will hit a development in a night.” The thefts usually occur overnight and items are often left in plain view.

Usually things that are taken are loose change, wallets and electronics,” he added.

In this recent string of burglaries, we believe the subject is a female that is dressed as a male to help conceal their identity,” Grady said. 

Anyone with information regarding the suspect or the burglaries is asked to contact the department by email at MantuaPD@MantuaTownship.com or by phone at (856) 468-1920 and request to speak to a detective.

Grady said the best way for residents to be protected is to lock their cars and to not leave valuables in plain sight.

“If the car is unlocked, they’ll go through it,” said Palmieri. “If it’s locked, they won’t try to get in through alarms. If there are 100 cars in a neighborhood and 32 were left unlocked, I’d say they had a ‘great’ night.

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