String of vehicle break-ins reported

Coins, a bottle of cough syrup, a GPS device, a digital camera, a credit card, a cellphone and a pack of cigarettes were stolen from 10 vehicles in White River Town- ship overnight.

Residents on Old Smith Valley Road, Welton Street, Hiatt Avenue and Turfway Court started calling police as early as 7:40 a.m. Monday to report their vehicles had been ransacked. Most of the vehicles were parked in residents’ driveways, and some were unlocked, according to the police reports from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

About $105 and miscellaneous items were stolen from eight residents in the Center Grove area. More than 40 people have reported their vehicles were broken into this summer in subdivisions such as Wakefield and Silver Springs. Residents in Franklin and Bargersville subdivisions also have reported break-ins this year.

In the most recent string of break-ins, three vehicles on Old Smith Valley Road were broken into, five on Welton Street and one on Hiatt Avenue and Turfway Court. One resident had three cars in her driveway rummaged through, according to the sheriff’s office report.

“I’ve lived in my neighborhood my whole life, and very minimal stuff ever happens around there,” said resident Janet Bishop, who had change and a bottle of cough syrup taken from her unlocked vehicle.

About 20 years ago, her car was stolen, but since then, she hasn’t had to deal with thieves, she said.

Bishop said she felt violated with the recent car break-in, but at the same time, she doesn’t plan to change her routine at night.

Although she left her car unlocked, Bishop said, she would rather have a criminal enter her unlocked car without any struggle than have to pay for a broken window in the future.

Police said residents should lock their vehicles.

In two of the police reports from Monday, residents were able to find the stolen items, such as an emptied purse and a bottle of cough syrup, down the street or in a neighbor’s yard. Bishop said officers found the bottle of cough syrup after she had already reported the theft to the police.

One resident noted that someone had entered his truck, nothing of value was stolen, but his vehicle had been broken into before, according to the police report.

Bishop said she does not keep valuables in her car, so she doesn’t worry about another strike.

“I just figured that it was someone looking for drugs,” Bishop said.

Sheriff deputies have not narrowed in on a suspect or know the vehicle he or she drove, Sheriff Doug Cox said. Officers collected the bottle of cough syrup to test for DNA, according to the police report.

Other break-ins this summer have been more of an organized effort and thieves have taken bigger ticket items, and not small amounts of change, as in Monday’s case, Cox said.

If anyone has any information regarding the stolen property or the suspect who broke into the cars, call the tip line at 317-346-4654.