In the past couple of weeks, there have been four autos stolen in Normal Heights, according to the Crimemapping.com website. An additional eight auto break-ins and thefts were also reported.
“I woke up to find my truck door slightly ajar,” said Laura. “They took my bag of quarters…and a 20 [dollar bill] in the ashtray.”
Laura lives by 38th Street where she said the “high-tech” thieves hit “several neighbors.” She sent a private message (to this reporter) of a link to an NBC News Rossen Reports story titled “Mystery Device Could Let Thieves Get In Your Car in Seconds,” which she said explains how some of her Normal Heights neighbors may have been victimized.
The four-minute video shows how thieves can access a car in seconds without breaking a window. It is a two-person job in which one carries a bag with a device that clones the remote signal of the key fob after the owner exits the vehicle and engages his or her alarm and locks the vehicle; the signal is then sent to the other perpetrator who accesses the car and can even drive away (if the car has a push-start button).
“In the last nine years of living here [in Normal Heights by Bancroft Street],” said Natalia, “[auto theft and break-ins are] the worst that I have seen.”
Natalia, a notary for the past 22 years, said that this year alone she has had to notarize three neighbors’ “affidavit of theft” papers to be sent to their insurance companies. “Sometimes I worry about my daughter with her new car and parking around here,” she said.
Many of the Normal Heights residents are warning one another of the brazen thefts via social media. Over this past weekend, a neighbor posted a video screenshot of people scoping out their garage. Many others from the neighborhood, though, stated that most of the thieveries are quick.
“I’ve seen fools walking up the streets yanking on door handles [to see if the cars are unlocked],” said a young man skateboarding by Ward Canyon Park. Another neighbor said that some thieves are bold enough “to shine the flashlight inside the car windows.”
The four Normal Heights auto-thefts reported by Crimemapping were: 3700 block of Meade Avenue on 8-31-2017 @ 1:30 a.m; 4700 block of Kenmore Terrace on 8-24-2017 @ 11:00 p.m; 4300 block of Ohio Street on 8-22-2017 @ 6:00 p.m; 4400 block of Bancroft Street on 8-20-2017 @ 3:00 a.m.
Some of the items stolen in the recent break-ins were purses, prescription drugs, makeup, and an envelope with undisclosed contents.
“I guess this [auto-theft] is the ‘new’ normal nowadays,” said another Normal Heights resident.