Rampaging criminals cash in on unlocked Ottery cars

PUBLISHED: 18:00 24 August 2010

Emergency Police Services

Emergency Police Services

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Resident rumbles thieves on late-night spree

A STARTLED Ottery resident rumbled criminals posing as drunks who targeted cars on a late-night thieving rampage.

Torch-light wielding crooks described as ‘shadowy figures’ stole cash, bags, mobile phones, I.D cards and satellite navigation systems from unlocked vehicles in the Ridgeway and Chapel Lane areas.

One victim was woken by the sound of her car door opening at 4am and challenged suspect figures seen “skulking” around the area with torches at 3am the following morning.

The suspects, believed to be men, claimed to be drunk when approached- then fled.

A 999 call prompted police to race to the scene and search the area, but the men had vanished.

Neighbourhood beat manager PC Phil Thomas has urged residents to avoid heartache by not making life easy for criminals by leaving cars unlocked with valuables inside.

“Ottery is fortunate in that theft from motor vehicles rarely occurs,” he told the Herald.

“It is possible the community has become complacent and we would always urge you to remove items from your vehicle and lock it.

“There is no doubt these individuals covered a large area trying their luck on insecure car doors, and they have stolen a large amount of property because the victims made it easy for them. Without exception, all the vehicles were unlocked.

“Furthermore, the victims will rarely be covered by car insurance in these circumstances.”

“On the first occurrence one suspect appeared to be standing guard while the other was walking away from the vehicle.

“The same victim sighted two ‘shadowy figures’ with torches skulking around a car in Chapel Lane the next night. She challenged them and they claimed to be drunk.”

The overnight theft incidents happened between Sunday, August 8, and Monday, August 9, with four vehicles in Ridgeway, Ridgeway Gardens and Chapel Lane targeted.

Contact police with information on 08452 777444, crime reference number: KO/10/480.

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