Tulsa Police Deal With Rash Of Car Break-Ins

Thursday, September 10th 2009, 10:20 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A rash of car break-ins in Tulsa have been happening along 71st Street in the parking lots of the Cinemark Theatre, Woodland Hills Mall and Incredible Pizza.  Burglars are taking something unusual from the cars, something police haven't seen in years.

When you park your car in a parking lot, and then go inside for a couple of hours, don't leave anything of value in your car, not your GPS stuck to the windshield, not your purse tucked under the seat, nothing.

The trouble is thieves are taking something you can't protect.

Kevin Withers is fed up with thieves.  They recently broke the back passenger window of his Avalanche while he was at Tulsa's Cinemark theatre.  It was the second time in a few months.  This time, they took his i-phone and stereo, damaging his dash in the process.

"I feel like 71st and Memorial, I should be safe, only a block away from my house," said Kevin Withers.

Tulsa Police arrested the burglars who hit Kevin's truck and four others that night, but say groups of thieves have been working the 71st Street area hard the past couple of months.  They've caught 10 of them, but it hardly matters because they're juveniles.

"They're out the same day very often or turned over to mom and dad," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Brandon Watkins.

The break-ins do include the usual items, purses, GPS units and i-pods, but also something unusual, car stereos.

"Stereos, it's an odd crime, a vestige of crimes past, but they're definitely being stolen at a high rate," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Brandon Watkins.

Police say there must be a market for used car stereos otherwise thieves wouldn't be taking them, so they're trying to track the crimes from that direction as well.

All Withers knows is it's maddening when people take things that don't belong to them and do expensive damage in the process.  He wants to warn others.

"It cost me $500 because of the deductible. Even though I got the items back, I'm still out $500," said Kevin Withers.

The best way to protect yourself is don't leave anything valuable in your car and if you plan to put your purse or valuables in the trunk, do it before you leave the house.

The warning is timely, because the Tulsa State Fair starts in just a couple of weeks and car break-ins are always an issue in those parking lots as well.