Thefts from vehicles have a domino effect on other crimes in Vernon

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VERNON - A single wallet left in a car can result in Vernon police officers opening up multiple case files.

It starts with theft, but often leads to fraud when stolen credit cards are used in spending sprees across town, Cpl. J.R. Lechky says.

“For every break and enter to a vehicle we have, there’s usually three or four files that will stem from it if’s a credit card theft,” he says.

And Vernon continues to experience a high volume of thefts from vehicles. Officers have issued many warnings to residents to lock up their vehicles and never leave valuables in the car, but thefts from vehicles continue to plague police.

“We get a dozen or more (complaints) every morning,” Lechky says.

Thefts from vehicles and ensuing frauds are a hassle for the victims, but they are also a strain on police resources.

“If a credit card is used in six different stores before someone realizes… then you have to check video at all of those businesses,” Lechky says.

In many cases, victims leave their valuables in plain site in unlocked vehicles. Lechky says a simple change in habit could help prevent such crimes from happening in the first place.

Victims are always encouraged to file police reports, however Lechky is hoping to get more calls from residents before incidents occur.

“If you have a suspicious vehicle or person you see skulking around your neighbourhood in the wee hours of morning, we’d rather get that call rather than ten complaints (for thefts) in the morning,” Lechky says.

If you witness suspicious activity or an individual not normally seen in your neighbourhood, Lechky says it’s a good idea to let police know.

Another suggestion he has for people is to disable the tap feature on their credit cards.

“It’s a convenience thing for people, but I’ve taken mine off. You see this and it’s too easy if your card falls into someone’s hands,” Lechky says.

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