Police Arrest Burglars Targeting Cars In Downtown Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa police arrested two men accused of breaking into cars downtown, crimes officers say could have been prevented in people would lock their vehicles.
“It happens all the time,” said Cpl. Brandon Davis, with Tulsa Police Department’s Downtown Impact Team. “I think a lot of it is kind of a false sense of security, you know, because crime is not as bad downtown as other places in the city."
Tulsa police get an average of 500 car burglary reports every month. It’s not easy to track down crooks, but Davis said help from the community made the difference in two cases this month.
Surveillance video captured a man rummaging through a car in the parking lot at MexiCali on Main Street. Davis said the team identified the man as Donnie Clemons.
"It's a guy who's downtown a lot at night, causing problems,” said Davis. “We contacted the city’s Working in Neighborhoods group, to have them keep an eye out.”
The group is part of the city’s Code Enforcement, often working to keep squatters out of vacant homes. Bryant Pitchford, with Working in Neighborhoods, said one of his inspectors was at a home and spotted Clemons.
"We knew his identity because we dealt with him in the past at other addresses,” said Pitchford. “We were able to keep him there until police could come and do their work.”
Pitchford said within the last year, they’ve helped police arrest roughly 35 suspects.
“It's usually just a matter of knowing when where we've seen that person in the past, and going to visit with them, usually because we're not wearing a badge and a gun, they'll come out and talk to us,” said Pitchford.
Police also attribute the arrest of another downtown car burglar to the community. Davis said a witness helped the downtown impact team arrest Troy Lalley for breaking into a car near 1st and Elgin.
“We’ve arrested him before for the same thing,” said Davis. “When I was on graveyard, me and my guys arrested him downtown after a foot chase on a burglary from vehicle.
Records show Troy Lalley has at least five other burglary-related convictions in Tulsa County. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 2017 but got out in August of 2018.
"You'll see guys getting out of DOC or out of jail, and then the things that they were arrested for, you start seeing the pattern uptick again."