Auto burglaries in Bangor prompt police advisory

Posted July 01, 2009, at 10:07 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An ongoing problem with automobile burglaries has prompted city police to remind drivers to lock their vehicles and avoid leaving valuable items inside, especially overnight.

“We have received several complaints of cars being burglarized overnight in all areas of Bangor,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said in a news release Wednesday. He said that in some cases, the thieves damaged vehicle windows to gain access.

According to Edwards, some of the valuables most often targeted by thieves are: backpacks, gym bags, briefcases and day-planners; cash, checkbooks and credit and debit cards; wallets and purses; laptop computers, iPods, portable GPS navigation systems and other electronic gadgets; cell phones and chargers; jewelry, keys and mail; and anything else of obvious value.

To help drivers avoid becoming the next burglary victim, Edwards provided the following auto burglary prevention tips:

- Don’t leave valuables in your car, especially in plain sight.

- If you must leave valuable items in your car while out and about, place them out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously. Someone may be watching.

- If you can’t take them with you, lock smaller items in your glove compartment, if it locks, or trunk, if your vehicle has one.

- Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags in plain view. Plan your shopping-errands so that you don’t load your trunk until you are ready to drive to another destination; never open a trunk, fill it with valuables, close it, and then just walk away.

- Once home, unload your valuables immediately. Do not store them in your car any longer than necessary.

- Don’t leave signs that there might be valuables hidden in your vehicle, such as docking stations or connector cables.

- Try to park in busy, well-lit areas.

- Lock all vehicle doors, even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time.

- Set any alarm or anti-theft device you have.

- Don’t think dark tinted windows will hide your valuables. Thieves often use flashlights to see through tint. Also, after-market tint keeps the broken glass in one “sheet” when thieves break out your window.

- Mark your valuables. In the event you do become an auto burglary victim, you might be able to hasten the recovery of your valuables. Today, serial numbers often are placed on removable labels rather than engraved. Also, serial numbers don’t directly link you to your stolen property.

Experts suggest inscribing or engraving a “personal identifier” on all valuables. They recommend using such identifiers as a driver’s license number, prefaced by the abbreviation for your state, such as ME1217454928. Police can use that marking to reunite you with your valuables.

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