About 10 cases of unlawful vehicle entry have been reported in recent weeks in Hood River.
Only one of those involved forced entry: in all others, owners had left a door open, giving thieves easy access to purses, wallets, cameras, backpacks, clothing and other items, according to Police Chief Neal Holste.
Josh Frederick of Montello Court acknowledges he was one of those majority victims. A $500 coat was taken from his vehicle on the night of Nov. 22.
“My car was totally wide open. I had taken pride in living in a community where there’s not a lot of crime, but I have learned a lesson,” Frederick said.
Holste said, “It happens every year about this time. People leave their cars unlocked, either in front of their own home or they’re going to a social gathering and they leave it unlocked.” He said one of the incidents reported to his staff was an attempt to steal the vehicle.
He said the crimes are of the “walking alongside” variety, in which rather than breaking in, the car burglars check for unlocked doors and then slip inside to see what they can find. “It’s quick and easy,’’ Holste said. “We recommend locking your doors and don’t just rely on clicking on the fob. Hit the button but then check the door handle.” Holste also suggested that car owners avoid leaving things in plain sight and that they remove valuables from cars.