Rash of Thefts From Vehicles Reported in Arbutus
Residents near UMBC talking about cars being rifled over the weekend.
A neighborhood in Arbutus is being preyed upon by thieves targeting vehicles, with a flurry of crimes reported over the weekend, sources tell Arbutus Patch.
On Friday and Saturday night, attempts and thefts from vehicles were reported on several streets within an area bounded by Linden Avenue and Elm Road, east of Shelbourne Road--roughly the area between UMBC and downtown Arbutus.
Arbutus resident Amy Stocksdale-Magbulos said that her parents and their neighbors had their cars broken into on Friday night. BJ Bisser Curry said that her car was hit on Saturday.
Jennifer David Bennett said that her husband, Jim, found the remnants of a car theft--pieces from a GPS device--near the curb of his house early Saturday morning.
"I learned that there were a series of cars broken into all along the street," she said.
On Facebook, Arbutus Improvement Association president Nikki Marlatt-Young said that reports of "door jigglers" and thefts from vehicles were reported on Birch, Maple, Link and Popular Avenues, and Oakland Road.
Several residents report seeing two teenagers on bicycles in the area.
Bobby Silseth, who lives on the 1300 block of Poplar, said that he stepped out on his porch at around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night and saw two teenagers on BMX bikes near parked cars.
"One of them was leaning down between the cars, and the other one was looking inside," Silseth said.
Thinking that the teens were going to slash tires, Silseth said that he spoke to the suspects, who took off up the street toward Highview.
Rachael Aiosa, administrative officer of Precinct 1/Wilkens, confirmed that a "spike" of thefts from vehicles reports occurred in Arbutus over the weekend.
Aiosa said that nobody has been charged in the crimes, and police have no suspects.
According to residents, the problem of petty crime such as theft from vehicles has been growing in Arbutus.
"There's always kids roaming the streets," said Chrissy Hughes Stafford, who lives on the 1200 block of Locust Ave. "They steal everything. This is becoming a huge problem in Arbutus."
When speaking to community groups, police officials tell residents to call 911 when they see something suspicious.
Last weekend, residents said that they were directed instead to file a report with the police department's online crime reporting system.
"If the police responded faster, they could catch them," Stafford said. "It irks me."
On Facebook and in interviews with Patch, several residents bemoaned the rise in petty crime they say afflicts the Arbutus area.
"I'm tired of my stuff being vandalized, tired of having my car broken into," Stafford said. "I'm half thinking of moving."
To avoid becoming a victim of theft, Baltimore County police suggest these tips:
- Always lock your vehicle.
- Don't leave valuables in view in your car. When you leave your car, leave it empty.
Bennett admits that she is not always careful about locking her car.
"My husband yells at me for not locking the car door," she said. "I have three kids and my hands are full. But he's right. I'll do better with locking the door. We'll have to be more diligent and careful from now on."