Deputy chief says reason for recent rash of vehicle thefts is owners failing to lock doors
QUINCY — Mike Tyler, deputy chief for the Quincy Police Department, had a simple three-word resolution when explaining a recent rash of vehicle thefts and burglaries in Quincy.
Lock. Your. Doors.
Tyler issued a press release Monday morning to local media outlets explaining that five vehicles were stolen from various locations around the city last week. Thirty vehicles have been stolen since Jan. 1. By comparison, Tyler said 43 cars were stolen in Quincy in 2022.
“We rarely have five cars stolen in a week,” he said.
Tyler said the thefts have happened at random sites throughout the city.
“They’ve happened at a couple of high school basketball games and stuff like that,” he said. “There’s one that happened around the Quincy University area, and there was one that happened around the area of The Patio (Fourth and Jersey).”
He said burglars found the car unlocked with the keys in the front seat in nearly every instance.
“If everyone locked the doors to their home, locked the doors to their car, locked the windows and didn’t leave their keys in their car, 99 percent of our burglaries would be non-existent,” Tyler said. “Whether it’s a vehicle or house or garage or shed or whatever, it’s always because someone has left that place unlocked.”
Tyler said investigators believe the culprits behind the thefts are juveniles checking for unlocked vehicles at events with multiple cars.
“They usually have a cinch sack or a backpack with them, and they’ll try door handles,” he said. “If it’s unlocked, they’ll get in it, steal what they can carry and then take off. They look for cigarettes, cash, phone chargers, iPhones and stuff like that.”
Sometimes, the culprits will steal the car if they find a set of car keys as well. Tyler said in the news release that QPD has recovered at least 16 of the 30 stolen cars, but he believes that number may be higher.
“We don’t have people out there hotwiring cars like you see on TV,” he said. “The doors are unlocked, they were able to get in, steal the car, and then they drop it off somewhere else.
“Sometimes we find (the car) wrecked. Sometimes it’s just left on the side of the road. Some people steal them just to steal stuff out of them, but I’m going to just take a joy ride. Some do it to go do other crimes. That way, they can commit the crime, but it’s not their vehicle, and it’s not their name on the registration.”
Tyler asks residents to lock their doors, take their keys with them and to illuminate the front of their homes to help prevent burglaries.
“If you light up your house, keep your door light on and your garage lights outside your residence, (burglars) get worried because they’re able to be seen. They can’t hide in the shadows,” Tyler said.
“I don’t know why people have outdoor lights on their front porch and stuff, and they shut them all off before they go to bed. LED lights are not that expensive. My house is all lit up. I have three LED lights in my front yard, and two in my backyard. I also have a streetlight that looks over my home that shines on my front yard.”
The Quincy Police Department continues to investigate these thefts. Anyone with information in these thefts or burglaries should contact the Quincy Police Department at 217-228-4470 or the Quincy Regional Crime Stoppers at 217-228-4474.
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