Calaveras County has experienced four vehicle thefts within the span of a week, and law enforcement is warning locals not to “make yourself a victim.”
On Aug. 13, a Nissan Altima was stolen from a residence in Valley Springs. The following day, a Honda Accord was taken from the parking lot of the Sierra Inn in San Andreas, and on Aug. 19 and 20, two more vehicles – a Ford Focus and a Dodge Avenger – were stolen from residences in San Andreas.
Three of the cars had their keys left inside, according to Officer Tobias Butzler, spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol unit in San Andreas.
Authorities do not believe the thefts are related to one another – except the two most recent incidents in San Andreas, which may have been linked to other burglaries in the area which occurred within a similar time frame, Butzler said.
Thus far, one suspect has been arrested in San Joaquin County after the Nissan Altima was located by an auto theft task force in that region.
Typically, Calaveras County averages three to four vehicle thefts per month, Butzler said, and locals should be mindful of word spreading to other areas that Calaveras residents are easy targets.
“Times are changing, and people are too trustworthy,” said Butzler, who advised citizens to remove valuables from their cars before locking them. “Don’t give them an opportunity. ... Historically, we’ve seen that, eventually, they’ll find a vehicle with valuables or have keys left inside.”
8/22/19 Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously referred to a vehicle theft as a carjacking.