Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Car Break-ins in NP

Update.--The NPS reported they arrested two suspects in the string of car break-ins, see news article using a sting operation Sunday August 23rd.

Original post.--This from the NPS in Mt. Rainier NP:

Over the past 2 weeks, the park has experienced nearly 10 car break-ins at trailheads and parking lots at the following locations:
Hwy 410 at the Gravel pile,
trailheads at Crystal Lakes,
Frying Pan Creek,
Comet Falls, Carter Falls, and
Owyhigh Lakes trailhead along the Sunrise Road.

The break-ins have been occurring both on weekends and weekdays, and all have occurred during daytime hours.

Most of the break-ins have involved thieves breaking out car windows to snatch bags, backpacks or valuables visible by looking into the vehicle. Wallets, cash, credit cards, purses, electronics, cell phones, I-pods, and other valuables have been taken. In one case, a visitor hid her purse under her car seat after she parked her car, only to find it stolen after returning from her hike. There is some indication that she may have been watched as she hid her purse.

One of the vehicles broken into today was a government SUV (with government plates) operated by a visiting USDA researcher. They lost phones, an I-pod, and other valuables.

Rangers are actively investigating these break-ins, but are requesting the following of all employees:

· Do not leave any valuables in your vehicle, both personal or government vehicles.

· Do not leave bags or packs, laptop cases, camera cases or any other containers that look like they may hold valuables in your work or personal vehicles. If you must leave anything in the vehicle, lock it in the trunk or place it well out of sight before you arrive at the parking area.

· Immediately report suspicious activity you might observe throughout the park to Park Dispatch. Activity to watch for may include individuals who look out of place looking into vehicles or sitting in a parked car in a parking lot; a car driving back and forth past a parking area multiple times without clear direction; broken window glass; discarded packs, purses, handbags thrown out on the side of the road.

· Spread the word to other visitors you have contact with about the warnings above.

· Do not intervene if you happen upon a break-in in progress unless you are trained and equipped to do so (ie: Law Enforcement commissioned). Immediately notify dispatch and report your observations, record vehicle color, make, model, and license #, detailed description of the subjects, direction of travel if they flee.

Please contact my office or one of the other rangers if you have any further questions or have some observations to pass on. A version of this message will be posted on the park public website.

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