Auto Theft On The Rise In Tulsa

Thursday, August 3rd 2017, 7:42 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa police detectives say there's a growing problem of thieves working neighborhoods, checking door handles, trying to steal cars or take what's inside them.

There have been several cases in the last two weeks of car thieves getting into houses with garage door openers. More often - they're after the car, or anything they can grab.
Police say the thieves often work in groups, walking neighborhoods in the middle of the night, checking car doors. If they can't get in quickly, they move on, unless they spot something interesting.

"And they'll just check the doors of every door they come across, they might look in with a light and if they find one unlocked or see anything of value, they want to take it," said Corporal Chris Chomosh, Tulsa Police Auto Theft.

Police say it happens in every neighborhood, but more people are realizing they were almost hit - because they spot activity on surveillance cameras.

"A lot of people in Tulsa have a false sense of security in their own driveway," Chomosh said.

Police Corporal Chris Chomosh says keys left in cars, and cars left unlocked contribute to the problem. He says 15 cars are stolen every day in Tulsa - but most are eventually found.

"We get about 85 percent of them back. It's not always in the same condition though, because stolen cars change hands very rapidly. Sometimes they're stripped, burned, or wrecked," he said.

Police urge people to not leave keys, including spares in the car, and be cautious with garage door openers because that gives a thief access to the home.

"I would recommend people get in the habit of checking, asking themselves, did I leave anything in plain view that someone on drugs or a bad guy might want to smash this window or open the door if it's unlocked, and take from me?" the corporal said.

Police say it's not uncommon for people to put spare keys for another car in a glove box and they say that's the first place criminals look, so they can just crank it up and drive off.