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Grand Theft Auto: Central Kitsap

Car theft on the rise, thieves targeting Hondas and Toyotas.

Many people don’t think twice about leaving their vehicle unlocked, sometimes with the engine running, while they dash inside a store to pick up milk and bread.

“You’d be surprised at the number of times people just walk off,” said Deputy Scott Wilson, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

With more and more people leaving vehicles unattended, motor vehicle thefts are on the rise in Kitsap County, according to KCSO, specifically in Central Kitsap, east of Silverdale and East Bremerton.

The rash of thefts began in early June, Wilson said.

He said patrol deputies noticed more and more vehicles were being stolen and began tracking the trend. Detectives are currently investigating reports of 30 vehicles stolen since June 2.

Foreign imports, mainly Hondas and Toyotas, are the vehicles of choice for thieves.

“The items that are inside the vehicles also are easily taken out of one car and put into another,” Wilson said.

Vehicles are being taken from apartment complexes, major retail store parking lots, shopping mall parking lots, private residences and restaurant parking lots. KCSO said they are usually stolen between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Vehicles are typically found within hours and near where they were taken from, missing valuable items such as in-dash stereo equipment, personal property and sometimes vehicle components like seats.

Wilson said regardless of the length of time they’re away from their vehicle, people should always remove the key from the vehicle ignition, close all windows and lock the doors.

“You need to make it more difficult for people to steal your car,” he said.

People should never leave personal identifying items, like wallets and purses, inside vehicles because thieves could use those items to commit crimes like fraud, forgery or identity theft.

Wilson said people shouldn’t leave anything of value, like cameras and GPS devices, inside vehicles regardless of whether or not it’s in plain view.

“Even though it may not be in plain view, it only takes half a second to pop open the glovebox and look in there,” he said.

Call 911 to report a stolen vehicle and provide the investigating deputy or police officer with the vehicle license plate number; vehicle identification number (if possible); year, make, model and color of the vehicle; any personal identifying marks, such as bumper/window decals or obvious damage; a list of items inside the vehicle at the time it was stolen; and the circumstance surrounding the vehicle like the last know location of the vehicle before the theft, last driver and any suspicious activity or other information.

Anyone with information about motor vehicle thefts is asked to contact Detective Chad Birkenfeld at (360) 337-5619.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at (800) 222-8477.

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