Lock your car, Morro Bay sees spike in vehicle thefts

Apr 19, 2019

A rash of vehicle thefts in Morro Bay 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 recent thefts, but think more suspects are still in the area. And the crimes aren’t limited to the central San Luis Obispo County coast.

Police say unlocked vehicles create “a crime of opportunity.”

“People will walk by, check doors, and if they find an unlocked door... ransack the vehicle and take anything of any value,” Rick Catlett said, acting commander for the Morro Bay Police Department.

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 lottery 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.

The thefts aren’t just limited to Morro Bay. Catlett said he’s seen an increase across the county and in the city of San Luis Obispo.

“It isn’t specific to [Morro Bay], it just happens to be our time to be getting hit,” 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 speculated the spike of burglaries could be attributed to the recent tax day or spring weather encouraging more people out at night. He said some of the stolen goods are being returned to victims, although some items may 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, said Catlett, and make sure you always lock you car.