Thieves break into cars across Hampton Roads

YORK Co., Va. - The York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office investigated reports of people going through vehicles on Thoreau Circle in York County early Wednesday morning.

"Somebody witnessed a light colored car and possibly a black SUV leaving the area at a high rate of speed. We found four to five cars, several cars had been gone through with the dome lights on," said Lt. Dennis Ivey.

Ivey says the number of reports grew throughout the day as more discovered stolen items. He calls this the most recent case in a recent spike in larcenies from cars.

Over the weekend deputies arrested 37-year-old Chad McSweeney for stealing what investigators say was hundreds of pieces of property.

Lt. Ivey says a lot of these cases fall on drivers simply not locking their doors, but that's not all...

"Locking your vehicle's not the catch all because if you leave valuables laying in their in plain view, someone's gonna break the window out and get them," he said.

That's what happened in several Norfolk neighborhoods Sunday night into Monday.

Officer Daniel Hudson says those reported car break-ins are part of a spike throughout the city.

"Norfolk Police Department has seen a 44 report increase of larceny from autos [in December 2016 compared to December of 2015]," he said.

Hudson says protecting yourself starts with locking your doors and rolling up windows. You'll also want to hide anything of value or remove it entirely.

The number of stolen car reports is also up. Hudson says never leave your keys in the car if you're not standing nearby.

Western Branch in Chesapeake is also dealing break-ins, according to neighbors. One, named Pam, is even installing security cameras now. "We work hard. We're just average people making a living and then somebody comes out here and takes things from us," she said. "It's just sad."