Police report spike in car thefts in Green Bay

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 4:57 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - If your car is parked outside your house as you’re reading this, police have a simple question for you: Are the keys inside?

Green Bay Police are seeing a big and sudden spike in stolen cars the last couple of weeks.

“Anything from a car to a truck to a motorcycle,” says Commander Paul Ebel.

They’re all on the hot list of vehicles reported stolen in July.

Police have received reports of 15 stolen cars in the month. Five have gone missing just this week.

”There’s no real pattern,” says Ebel. “We’re seeing some people leaving their keys in their car. Some people just leave their car doors open and they’re able to somehow steal them, and then a lot of the cases, we’re seeing people that are acquaintances or acquaintances of friends of theirs come into the house. They have a get-together, and in the morning their car is gone.”

The cars are stolen from random neighborhoods on the east and west sides.

Police have recovered some cars in other cities, but many have been found close to home, though not always in the same shape as when they were taken.

”That one didn’t have the keys in it. It was a brick thrown through the back window, stolen, taken during the evening,” describes Ebel.

He says police have suspects so far in about half the cases, adding, “They range in age from being a teen to grown adults that know better.”

The overall number of auto thefts is actually down for for the entire year so far. Police recorded 79 auto thefts at this time last year compared to 62 so far this year.

Police attribute the drop to more people staying at home during the pandemic, but the sudden spike now, involving a crime that’s so easily preventable, is frustrating.

”Number one, take your keys out of your car when you park it at home. Lock your doors. If you’re going to loan your car to somebody, make sure that it’s a good friend and somebody that you trust,” advises Ebel.

A person caught stealing a car can be charged with a felony and face up to three-and-a-half years in prison.

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