CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – On a quiet summer day, it is not out of the ordinary to see cars sitting in driveways, perhaps with their doors unlocked, even at night.
“We feel like we can trust a lot in this neighborhood. It is a nice neighborhood,” Canfield Township resident Michele Peckman said.
But this week alone, Mahoning County Sheriff’s detectives received at least four reports from a neighborhood off Shields Road in Canfield Township for car break-ins. And in recent weeks, deputies have received close to 20 reports of thieves getting into cars in the township.
In each case, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said the vehicles were left unlocked and thieves simply opened the doors and took whatever they could grab, avoiding setting off car alarms, and often hitting multiple vehicles in a short period of time.
“The people that are more opportunistic, just opening unlocked doors and stuff, can essentially go through an entire neighborhood undetected,” Greene said.
And cars are not the only targets. Detectives gave our station surveillance video taken from a Canfield Township home. It shows two people wearing hoodies and masks walking up a driveway and even defiantly pointing toward the camera before checking a door knob to see if it was unlocked and then walking away.
“I don’t really want to call them break-ins because what it really is, it is opportunistic theft,” Greene said.
While the sheriff believes the thieves eventually will get caught, he said that is no reason for home and car owners to make it easy for them.
“You need to be vigilant, you need to watch your neighbor and certainly don’t leave anything of value in your car,” Greene said.
As news of the thefts has spread, Peckman is among those in the neighborhood being especially vigilant.
“We always have our garage doors down, our cars are in our garage at all times, and of course, always down and always locked,” Peckman said.
Greene said there will be extra patrols in the area.