Following similar warnings from other law enforcement agencies, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is warning area residents to be extra vigilant, following a number of vehicle break-ins over the last several weeks. Public Information Deputy, Walt Stowe, says while a majority of break-ins have occurred between Rifle and Parachute, residents from Basalt to Parachute have reported a number of thefts. Stowe says it isn’t clear yet whether the thefts are related or not.
To prevent being a victim of a similar crime, the Sheriff’s Office suggests:
- Lock your vehicle when it is unattended.
- Do not leave your keys or extra key set in the vehicle or in a “hidden” box.
- Whenever possible park your vehicle in a well-lit area that is readily visible to the traveling public.
- Be a good witness. If you see one or more people hanging around any car, be observant. If possible, without putting yourself in danger, use your cell phone to take a picture. Note the time of day and location. Call Dispatch at their non-emergency number (970) 625-8095 and report the activity.
- Never leave your car running and unattended while it “warms-up”.
- Never leave valuables in your car overnight or even for a short period of time, including wallets, purses, identity cards/passports, cameras, firearms, etc.
- Verify that your license plates are in place and securely attached to your vehicle. Thieves may change the plates on a stolen car to avoid immediate detection by law enforcement.
Stowe Says a majority of the thefts have occurred overnight, between 5:30PM and dawn, but a theft from a vehicle can occur at any time of day.