GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Gonzales Police detectives report they are investigating three separate rashes of vehicle burglaries.
The city streets are quiet during the day. But at night, lately, Detective Steve Nethken said officers are being dispatched to investigate similar complaints.
The most recent, he said, happened at 1 a.m. Friday.
"(Citizen) heard a noise outside the house, saw two people rummaging through the car, and chased one of the suspects down," Nethken said.
Nethken said he has noticed the burglars have a strategy.
"They'll ride through a neighborhood and look for an expensive vehicle or expensive homes and then they will target that neighborhood," Nethken said.
According to police reports, in the last 60 days, Gonzales detectives have investigated 41 vehicle burglaries and five vehicle thefts. Nethken said the victims have made it easy. In all but two cases, the thieves got in through an unlocked door. And, he said, the drivers of four of the stolen cars, left their keys behind.
"They're (burglars) not going around busting windows. In these vehicles, in these neighborhoods, they are just jiggling door handles," Nethken said.
Cell phones, tablets, and even loose change. Detectives said if it is in plain view, crooks will take it. They advise taking all of your belongings with you and always lock your doors.
"The most egregious ones are the ones who have weapons and leave their weapons in their car," Nethken said.
Nethken said officers are patrolling too. Anyone caught pulling on handles, regardless of whether they take anything, will pay a high price.
"If you decide you're going to go into a neighborhood and jiggle as many door handles as you can, and we ultimately find out you hit 20 to 25 cars in a neighborhood, I am going to charge you with 25 counts of burglary," Nethken said.
Detectives have made arrests in most of the cases, but Nethken said they are still looking for others they believe were involved.