Tag: vehicle theft
By Caleb Hutton
For background, see this post written Thursday.
One victim of a car theft and arson sent in these shots of her son’s Volkswagen Golf, before and after it was stolen.
It was burned by a group of meth users outside a warehouse on Mercer Avenue early Tuesday, July 10, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
These photos are courtesy of Heidi Vandivere-Croker, of Custer. The first was taken on Zeb Croker’s prom night in May. The second image was taken this week at Johnson’s Towing.
Zeb Croker, 18, parked and locked the car — “it was definitely locked,” his mom said — about 8:30 p.m. June 26, outside the warehouse. He walked to a bonfire on Locust Beach to hang out with a few friends. When he came back after midnight the car was gone. More than $750 in lacrosse equipment was inside.
From Thursday’s post:
Deputies responded to a report of a suspicious car fire at 5:16 a.m. Tuesday. They found Bradley Allen Ferris Jr., 32, of Sedro-Woolley, was squatting in a warehouse in the 3100 block of Mercer Avenue with a group of meth users, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks.
Inside the warehouse, it appeared someone had used a forklift to lift the Golf and picked out valuable pieces for resale, Parks said. The value of the car was about $3,500; the removed parts were worth about $1,000. Someone had taken the rest of the car and set it aflame outside.
Heidi Vandivere-Croker said the lacrosse gear was either hocked or burned — either way, it wasn’t recovered. Her son, an avid lacrosse player, had paid for most of the equipment himself.
He’d also just put a new transmission in the car.
And they had to pay more than $650 to get the charred remains out of impound.
A few things taken from the car were recovered by deputies: headlights, taillights, a stereo, wheels, etc. But most of those don’t fit in the replacement car Zeb’s driving around now.
“It’s good, but he doesn’t have a car to put them in,” his mom said. “He’s a good kid and just had the misfortune of parking his car in the wrong spot.”
She wanted to put a face to the victim in this case. So here’s a photo of Zeb with his lacrosse team. He’s No. 20.
By Caleb Hutton
It seemed like a lot more vehicle prowls than usual were reported this week on the Bellingham police log.
So to better understand any trends, I decided to visualize vehicle break-ins from June 16 to 22, with help from Google Maps.
Here are the takeways:
- Don’t leave your car unlocked.
- Right now, that’s really good advice if you park near the Lake Padden trails.
- Or if you live in the numbered streets east of Interstate 5.
- Not a single vehicle prowl was reported in Fairhaven this week.
View Bellingham vehicle prowls and thefts from June 16 to 22 in a larger map
And a few more things to keep in mind:
- Each point represents a single case. A case might include two break-ins. If two cases were filed in the same 100 block, I changed the last two digits of the address to “01″ or “02,” for the sake of seeing it better on the map.
- This only maps to the nearest 100 block (for example, 1155 N. State St. would come up as the 1100 block of North State Street).
- By my hand count, that’s about 40 vehicle prowls, a couple of vehicle thefts and one vehicle arson. Only one arrest.
- These are only reported crimes. Many more may have gone unreported.
By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham had the tenth-highest vehicle theft rate in the state last year, according to data released this week by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Here’s the vehicle theft rate for metro areas in Washington, per 100,000 residents.
1. Spokane: 551.8
2. Yakima: 529.3
3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue: 445.83
4. Longview: 295.7
5. Mount Vernon-Anacortes: 231.1
6. Bremerton-Silverdale: 228.2
7. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland: 185.9
8. Olympia: 171.5
9. Wenatchee-East Wenatchee: 129.8
10. Bellingham: 119.3
Sources: National Insurance Crime Bureau and U.S. Census data.
Spokane had the fourth-highest theft rate in the nation.
The average stolen vehicle was worth about $6,500, according to the latest available data.
In a press release, the NCIB gave the following advice to avoid vehicle thefts:
1) Common Sense
- Remove your keys from the ignition.
- Lock your doors /close your windows.
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Keep valuable items such as bags, purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight.
2) A Warning Device
Popular devices include:
- Audible alarms.
- Steering column collars.
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock.
- Brake locks.
- Wheel locks.
- Theft deterrent decals.
- Identification markers in or on vehicle.
- VIN etching.
- Micro dot marking.
3) An Immobilizing Device
Use a device that prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some examples are:
- Smart keys.
- Fuse cut-offs.
- Kill switches.
- Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
- Wireless ignition authentication.
You can also report vehicle thefts, anonymously and toll free, by calling 1-800-TEL-NICB. But it’s best to call 911 first.