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O'Hara police urge: Don't invite car break-ins

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
O'Hara police keep a strong presence at the Squaw Valley Park with recent break ins in parking lots.

O'Hara police are investigating recent vehicle break-ins at Squaw Valley Park, but Chief Jim Farringer said park visitors can help prevent future incidents.

“People are leaving purses and phones on the seats of cars, in plain view,” Farringer said. “That's an invitation.”

He couldn't provide an exact number of incidents, but said there have been a few over the last month or two.

“We're working on it,” he said. “We have a suspect.”

Officers have increased patrols through the popular park along Fox Chapel Road.

Township Manager Julie Jakubec said she has posted information about the break-ins on social media, including Nixle, Facebook and Twitter, to raise awareness.

“Please don't leave things lying in view,” Jakubec said.

The purchase of surveillance cameras is a possibility, she said.

“If we kept having issues over there, sure, it is something council would consider,” she said.

Farringer issued a stronger message to anyone using the playground, tennis courts, basketball courts or walking trails.

People have to start protecting themselves, he said.

“They need to lock items in a trunk, cover them or don't bring them at all if you're going to go walking around the park,” he said.

That includes anything of value, Farringer said. Purses, wallets, iPads, phones, laptops, loose change and jewelry are targeted.

“This is a crime of convenience,” he said. “If people are making it easy for the criminal element, it's going to happen.”

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