It continues to be quite easy for criminals to steal from vehicles in Menomonee Falls.
On Friday, 15 vehicles within a four-block radius of each other were rummaged and raided for money, electronics and other items inside, Menomonee Falls police reported. Although the cars were parked safely in the driveway, every single vehicle was left unlocked - making each one an easy target for thieves.
So far this year, nearly 40 cars left unlocked have been stolen in the village.
In the latest instance, the suspect or group of suspects targeted the 15 vehicles between 10 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday. Police Lt. Kevin Von Bank said one witness saw a motion light go on at about 4:15 a.m., and prints were found in the dew near the person’s home.
All the vehicles targeted were within an area along Mill Road between Lilly Road and Pilgrim Road, which includes the Cedar Ridge subdivision. Von Bank said police do not have any suspects at this time.
“This area has been targeted before. It’s frustrating for us, but it’s something we will have to deal with and address,” Von Bank said. “Of course, our preference is that everyone locks their vehicles. Our expectation is that everyone also closes their garage doors at night to secure their property.”
Faced with the choice between smashing a window and creating a scene, or simply opening a door a quietly and pilfering your property, it’s evident that criminals are choosing the later.
Last week, Menomonee Falls Patch thefts from vehicles in 2011, the car door was left unlocked.
And it's not just happening in Menomonee Falls. On the North Shore, from March to May were raided.
On Friday, the thieves essentially enjoyed a buffet of unsecured property along Mill Road. Everything from iPods, loose change, cologne and cigarettes were in the clutches of sticky fingers.
The Police Department's suggestions on how to avoid being a victim are pretty simple, but it's apparent there are residents who aren't heeding them.
“All of these are crimes of opportunity, and it’s a preventable crime if we eliminate that opportunity,” Von Bank said. “We emphasize that neighbors lock their vehicles and secure their valuables from inside their vehicles.”
The crime is easily preventable, and saves police time from filing reports as well. On Saturday, Von Bank said two officers totaled about 20 hours of work interviewing, gathering evidence and filing the reports for the 15 incidents in the area.
Von Bank said they are adding extra patrols are in place along Mill Road to prevent these crimes from occurring again.
Here are some tips from the police department to protect your property:
- Remove all valuables from the vehicle: wallets, purses, laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc.
- Lock your vehicles
- Illuminate the exterior of your house/garage if possible.
If you have any questions or information regarding these thefts, please contact the Menomonee Falls Police Department (262) 532-8700.