Summit County Sheriff’s Office sees a spike in vehicle break-ins

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PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Summit County Sheriff’s Deputies say there is an alarming trend of car break-ins in the county and most of it is happening right along I-80.

“Well the last month we have had a rash of car break-ins and it’s happened at people’s residences and also in parking lots, specifically trailheads like here at Run Amuck trailhead,” said Summit County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Andrew Wright. “The criminals are now outsmarting the people who are leaving their stuff behind.”

Deputies say over three dozen Summit County vehicles were broken into recently. Lt. Wright spent Tuesday morning educating drivers about the items in their car.

“You know your purses, cell phones, nice sunglasses…that kind of stuff you know. Don’t leave in plain sight because, it’s a crime of opportunity,” he told one group arriving for their morning hike.

“You got to do your part to protect yourself,” the lieutenant told ABC4’s Jason Nguyen. “We are doing our best to patrol these areas and try to prevent these things from happening or catch the people in the act; but it makes it difficult when we have residents who are leaving their cars unlocked, and leaving purses, wallets behind.”

While looking at vehicles in the parking lot, we spotted what would be a gold mine for criminals.

“We have walked and looked at some of these vehicles. This one next to me right here, its got a bag, it looks to be a purse sitting right in the back seat and it appears that the car is unlocked. So again, very concerning to us,” the lieutenant said.

Lt. Wright tried to find the owner, and once the owners arrived they drove off all while the lieutenant was educating another woman who left her id on the front seat.

“Yes, left it cause I figure I’m from New York, this is Utah, things like that don’t happen out here,” said Carol Stockley a new Park City resident. ” He said that [there have] been break-ins here at the walking park and to make sure you hide your valuables, and if possible not to bring them with you when you do come.”

Lt. Wright added, “We pride ourselves on a low crime rate, it doesn’t mean we are exempt from crimes.”

But Stockley said laughing, “Can’t fix stupid can ya.”

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is asking folks to leave valuables at home. If on a hike, deputies say just to bring your ID and a credit card if needed but put it in a backpack or fanny pack you’ll take with you while you’re on the trails.

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