Lock your car and hide valuables as vehicle thefts spike in SLO County

Apr 22, 2019

A rash of thefts in Morro Bay and other Central Coast locales has local authorities asking residents to be sure to lock their cars at night. Police say they have arrested two people who may be responsible for the Morro Bay thefts, but suspect more thieves are still in the area. 

When residents don’t lock their vehicles and leave valuables inside, it creates the potential for “a crime of opportunity,” says Rick Catlett, acting commander for the Morro Bay Police Department.

“People will walk by, check doors if they find an unlocked door, ransack the vehicle and take anything of any value,” Catlett said.

Recent Morro Bay police social media posts show what’s been recovered so far. Stolen items included sunglasses, phone chargers, headphones, cords, clothes, surfboard wax, and lotto tickets.

“It’s either a few individuals that are associated together or it happens to be we have a couple of groups that are out doing it,” Catlett said.

On the neighborhood social media app Next Door, the San Luis Obispo Police Department recently posted the city has experienced a 17% increase in theft from vehicles since February. 

Catlett says he’s also seen increase in these kind of theft calls across the county as well. 

“It isn’t specific to [Morro Bay], it just happens to be our time to be getting hit,” Catlett said.

Catlett said the rash of burglaries could be attributed to the recent tax day or nicer weather weather causing more people being out at night, but couldn’t say for sure. He did say, some of the stolen items are being returned, although some things might have to be kept for evidence.

If you’ve been the victim of a nighttime burglary, call your local police department and file a report, Catlett added, and be sure to always lock you car.