By Bryan Navarro
MEDFORD, Ore. — Car break-ins are on the rise in Medford, happening on average two and a half times a day. Medford police say they expect car break-ins to hit almost one thousand by the end of the year.
A few cars were hit in west Medford, just a few days ago. The way the suspects broke in to the cars has damaged the doors, so now, even when the car’s locked; it’s still wide open; a sense of security stolen with a stroke.
“They took a screwdriver and popped it with a hammer from behind,” explains break-in victim Charles Rice. Once inside, the thieves tore through his car.
“Power inverter on the floorboard, some tools I had on the back floor, and the disco ball hanging up,” says Rice.
Charles Rice expects total cost of lost items and replacing the locks on his 74 Plymouth Gold Duster to be more than a thousand dollars. Another truck in the parking lot had 45 gallons of gas siphoned out.
Rice and his neighbor aren’t alone. Break-ins are popping up in rashes all across the map.
“The entire city of Medford, any location in Medford is pretty much at risk or car break-ins,” Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.
Medford Police say the city is on pace for about 950 break-in’s this year – up more than 50% from 2010.
“For the amount of vehicle break-ins we don’t catch nearly as many as we wish we could,” says Lt. Budreau. “There just so many that happen, it’s somewhat of a headache.”
Charles rice says he’ll be taking the issue into his own hands, installing a powerful car alarm system that can be heard blocks away.
“If you’re the one with your hand on the door, you will suffer severe ear damage,” states Rice. Protecting for a next time he hopes never comes.
Police say generally there are three types of suspects in car break-ins. One is people looking to commit identity fraud, stealing personal checks. Another is juveniles and teenagers and drug users who steal anything to sell for drug money.