An Evans teen-ager has been arrested in a recent string of vehicle break-ins.
Carlos Alberto Parada, 17, of Bit Court in the Bridlewood Subdivision, was taken into custody July 22 on 35 warrants - entering autos, theft by taking and one financial transaction card theft, said Columbia County Sheriff's office Capt. Steve Morris.
"We suspect he and others are responsible for nearly two dozen entering autos in the Martinez area," Morris said.
Parada was released July 24 after his mother, Rebecca Parada, posted a $137,050 property bond. Charges are pending on at least two juveniles, and more arrests in the rash of thefts are expected soon, Morris said.
"They are opportunists looking for the easiest opportunity out there like looking for something in plain view with unsecured doors, that is their (modus operandi). That is the normal M.O. for entering-auto cases."
During the summer months, the sheriff's office handles an increase in some crimes, including burglaries and entering autos. As summer comes to an end, burglaries have decreased 38 percent, while entering-autos cases have fallen just 3.8 percent, Morris said.
The most important power of defense lies with residents.
"One of the most important deterrents is controllable by members of the public," Sheriff Clay Whittle said. "The vast and overwhelming majority of our entering autos crimes are from unlocked and unsecured vehicles. By securing your vehicles, whether at your residence or at a commercial establishment, you can make it much more difficult to commit these crimes.
"Also, please keep all valuables out of sight in your vehicles. Most of the items that are stolen were left in plain view. Secure your purses, wallets, money, cell phones and items such as these in your trunk or keep them on your person."
While executing a search warrant at a juvenile's home off Mullikin Road recently, deputies seized many items, raising the total of recovered property in the case to more than $25,000. Most of the property has been identified and is being returned to the owners. If recovered items cannot be tied to a case, a call goes out for all victims in a geographic area, Morris said.
"Vehicles on the street, low light areas, unlocked doors. Thieves are opportunists looking for the easiest target out there," Morris said. "They look in and see something of value and in seconds are down the street with your purse."
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