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Bozeman Police caution folks about rash of vehicle entries

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 31 2013 06:31:25 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Early Wednesday morning three people called police to report items had been taken from their unlocked vehicles.  But they're not the only ones.

I took a closer look at the city calls for service and found at least one more vehicle entry.  The caller says he saw two men carrying bags and wearing all black, leaving the scene.

So, I sat down with Bozeman Community Resource Officer Charley Gappmayer to find out more.

He told me police have received between 10 to 15 calls since the 29th from folks saying their vehicles were entered and items were taken.  Gappmayer says the reports are coming from the west end of town and there have been no signs of forced entry.

"Is this an unusual trend?" I asked.
"Not really.  From what we see, it comes and goes in spurts.  There's no direct time of the year that we can pinpoint when vehicle entries will come about.  It's a crime of opportunity," explains Gappmayer.

He says when folks are looking to commit a crime and they come across a vehicle that's unlocked, it means they can get in and out very quickly, especially if the vehicle's parked on the street.  Gappmayer says they're also more likely to strike in dark areas.

That's why police are keeping a close eye on the hot spots.

"Our midnight shift's been asked to beef up the patrol in that area, as well.  Be aware of any suspicious circumstances, of course, time of night, people out and about, anything like that," says Gappmayer.  "We have a very vigilante night shift and mid-shift and, of course, they take that personally, as well," he says.

Gappmayer says they're collecting evidence but don't have any suspects at this time.

He urges you to lock your vehicle, double check if you have to and make sure to take out any valuables at night, or if you're going to be away for a while.

Gappmayer also says, if you see anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, call 911 immediately.