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Local police departments talk increase in vehicle burglaries, gun thefts

While not everyone who experiences an auto burglary makes a report to police, the crime is on the rise locally and some of the possible suspects could be linked to burglaries across the area.

Groves Police Chief Deputy Kirk Rice said there was one reported auto burglary in the Wynnewood Addition on Monday, though a Groves crime Facebook group post suggested there were multiple vehicles hit.

The addition is between 39th Street and Washington in Groves.

But there have been reports from across the city.

Rice said firearms, wallets and other personnel items were stolen in the burglaries and police believe there is more than one suspect.

“We do have a suspect vehicle. It appears to be an older model Chevrolet Tahoe, maybe early 2000 with after market tail lamps,” Rice said. “We will be posting other videos to Facebook on the suspect and we have located and lifted latent prints off one of the vehicles that was burglarized.”

Port Neches Police say they have seen an increase in vehicle burglaries in September.

“For us, the rise isn’t an absurd amount; it’s a few more than normal and (the suspects) seem to be targeting guns specifically,” Port Neches Police Det. Scott Thompson said.

Thompson said the suspects enter a vehicle, dig through it and don’t take anything in some cases, making it apparent they are looking for guns as they leave items such as tools behind.

And they are targeting unlocked vehicles.

Thompson said it’s beneficial when victims make a report or even just call and let police know the crime occurred.

“It hurts us (if not reported) because we can’t go through a neighborhood and look at footage,” he said.

In a six-month period ending in September, the Port Arthur Police Department investigated 171 auto burglaries. And a firearm was stolen in approximately 25 percent of those reported cases, according to information from PAPD.

“In every instance, the vehicle was left unlocked. Although there has been a recent decline in reported auto burglaries, the number of firearms being stolen from vehicles is still too high and quite honestly, unacceptable,” according to a Facebook post by the PAPD.

In July, Beaumont Police were dealing with a rash of vehicle burglaries after receiving 25 reported cases in one overnight period. Almost all of those happened at local hotels in the 2000 block of 11th Street, 7100 block of Eastex Freeway and the 2200-2300 blocks of Interstate 10 South.