Third cluster of thefts in Richland this month

Third cluster of thefts in Richland this month

Richland, WASH - The Richland Police Department are trying to figure out who's responsible for at least 30 car prowls, burglaries and thefts last night.

When Darren Dewalt got home from the Benton-Franklin County Fair on Tuesday, he said he noticed something was off,

"My bike was missing its back wheel."

Unlike other bikes in his apartment complex, his was a Kawasaki Ninja. A sports bike with no back fender to protect the rear wheel.

Dewalt's misfortune is part of a cluster. Authorities report the robberies took place north of McMurry Street and west of George Washington Way. Captain Cobb said Thursday morning's cluster was between two similar crime sprees from earlier this month,

"Because of the location and because of the way the vehicles were entered, it appears it may be the same people."

Authorities said the criminals get into the cars through an unlocked door. Captain Cobb called it a crime of convenience,

"A majority of of the vehicles are unlocked. In the last spree we had 34 of the 35 vehicles were unlocked."

Dewalt said he agrees with the authorities because his bike was in a well-lit area surrounded on all sides by apartment. He thinks the lack of a fender probably proved too tempting,

"You know, it was in the middle of the parking lot. So I'm assuming they must have done it quickly, and been in and out fast."

Captain Cobb said Richland is still a safe place to live but asks the public not to make the bad guys job any easier. He said it's safest to put your stuff in the trunk where no one can see it, and to make sure your car doors are locked.

As for Dewalt, there is't much different he could have done, but Captain Cobb said this brazen attitude could work to the criminals advantage, or more hopefully that of his department,

"It has our full attention."

He said every single work-group within the Richland Police Department is devoting a significant amount of resources, personnel, and brainpower trying to solve this, but he said he needs the community's help,

"If you see something, you have to call and let us know. That's going to be vitally important."

He said if members of the community see, or even suspect, a burglary in progress they need to call 911 so the police can get there as soon as possible.

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