Police see spike in car thefts; say crimes could be prevented


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Jennifer Kuhns knows what it’s like to have a car snatched away.

Kuhns, who lives on South West Avenue in Lancaster Township, said someone stole her husband’s car more than a decade ago.

“He was getting ready to go to work,” Kuhns said. “His car was sitting out front and by the time he got out the door, the car was gone.”

Investigators say there have been recent vehicle thefts on the street where Kuhns live. Manheim Township police say over the past six weeks, eight cars have been stolen.

Detectives think “tweens” and “teens” are getting into unlocked vehicles and using the keys left inside to start and steal them.

“We’ve even seen keys in one vehicle left in one for the car parked next to it. Both were unlocked. All they had to do is flip the keys and now you have the other car and drive away,” Sergeant Michael Piacentino said.

Police would not say why they think it’s youngsters committing the crimes. Piacentino said the car thieves speed away from police when it appears an arrest is near.

“There have been instances in Lancaster, I believe, where cars have crashed because of them being driven reckless,” he said.

Piacentino said he recommends that everyone lock their vehicles. He said in almost all of the cases, the vehicles were unlocked.

“We don’t want to have to have to take these types of reports, especially if it’s something so preventable,” he said. 

Police said there have been no arrests, but five of the eight vehicles stolen have been recovered.

The areas that the vehicles were taken include the 1000 block of North Lime Street, Parkside Avenue, Willis Lane, the 1100 block West Ross Street, the 1300 block Atkins Avenue, 400 block South West End Avenue, 600 block Wycoft Lane, and the 1500 block Oregon Pike.

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