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Valley News Dispatch

Thieves targeting unlocked vehicles in at least 5 communities

Chuck Biedka
| Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, 6:54 p.m.

It’s been a busy month for thieves who target unlocked vehicles.

Police in at least five communities in Armstrong and Westmoreland counties have reported car break-ins involving dozens of vehicles.

In the latest rash of thefts, a pistol, drivers license, debit cards, cash and change were stolen from a number of unlocked vehicles in West Leechburg. Police say the thefts occurred sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. Monday.

State police said a Ruger LCP model .380-caliber pistol was among the stolen items.

West Leechburg police Chief George Lebetz said he is working with state police Trooper Travis November. The trooper already had seven cases he started to investigate at 5 a.m. Monday.

“I gave him information about three others,” Lebetz said. “State police are leading this investigation. They have the resources, but we will help as much as we can.”

November’s news release said the person or persons involved in the crimes left in an unknown direction by unknown means.

He is asking for tips from residents about strangers seen in their neighborhoods.

Also reporting multiple car break-ins this month are Leechburg, Gilpin, Hyde Park, Lower Burrell and Murrysville.

Several cars were entered on two streets in Leechburg last week, Acting Officer-in-Charge Jason Schaeffer said.

Some owners told police they thought they had locked their vehicles, but they got busy and forgot to hit the lock button on their key fob, Schaeffer said.

In Leechburg, the thieves got away with some change, phone chargers, a driver’s license and a Social Security card.

“It was $3 in quarters here and $2 there,” Schaeffer said.

In Gilpin, Officer-in-Charge Dawn Frejkowski said two cars were entered on a street that connects to Leechburg. Both cars were owned by the same person.

Similar thefts happened along Third Avenue in Hyde Park on Sunday or early Monday.

Last week, numerous vehicles were entered in Lower Burrell along Donnell Road, Davies Street, Fairway Street and Mintwood Drive.

Murrysville police said they are investigating attempted thefts from vehicles early Feb. 6 along Harvest Drive and Logans Ferry Road.

Police say thieves typically seek unlocked vehicles for these kinds of thefts and will take anything of value in the glove box, center console or on the seats or floor of a vehicle. They are looking for money or items that can be sold for money.

Anyone with information on the thefts in Gilpin, Leechburg, West Leechburg or Hyde park is asked to call the Kiski Valley state police.

Residents in Lower Burrell and Murrysville should call their local police departments.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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