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[Updated] Four Cars Stolen Recently in West Hartford, Police Urge Residents to be Vigilant

West Hartford Police Department Interceptor SUV. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

[Updated, 4:45 p.m.] West Hartford Police are urging residents to lock their cars and remove all keys and fobs from the vehicles.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police said that in the past three days there have been four vehicles stolen in town, and while the thefts occurred in different neighborhoods, the common factor was that all of the vehicles had been left unlocked with the keys or fobs left in the vehicle.

During the same three-day period there were not any reports of locked vehicles being stolen, police said.

According to police, cars were recently stolen from residential streets in the Kirkwood Road, High Farms Road, Ledyard Road, and Sampson Street neighborhoods.

Assistant Chief Robert McCue said Tuesday afternoon that two of the vehicles have been recovered in Hartford, abandoned on the side of the road.

A 2017 Nissan Rogue stolen from Sampson Street in West Hartford on Oct. 21 was recovered Monday afternoon on Franklin Street in Hartford, McCue said.

A Kirkwood Road resident called police when she woke upat about 1 a.m. because she heard the sound of her Nissan Pathfinder running in the driveway. When she got to the window, she saw the car being driven away, McCue said. That vehicle was recovered by Hartford Police on Martin Street on Tuesday afternoon, he said.

Two other cars – a Nissan Pathfinder that was stolen from Ledyard Road, and a Jeep Cherokee taken from High Farms – have not yet been found.

Police have been posting reminders nearly every evening on social media, urging residents to make sure their vehicles are locked.

“Most of our cars that are being stolen have the keys in them, or the valet key,” McCue said. In some cases thieves find the key to another car in the driveway and take that one.

McCue said that in the past cars were most often stolen from shopping center parking lots, but now they are being taken from driveways. He said he doubts that the four cars stolen in the past three days were the only ones that were left unlocked with the keys available, so people must be doing that a lot.

There were also car burglaries that took place in the areas where the cars were stolen, McCue said. The suspects are often juveniles, and “if they find the keys they steal the cars,” he said.

“A lot of it is just joy-riding, and a lot of them are younger, inexperienced drivers,” said McCue. Two cars from West Hartford in the past year were involved in catastrophic incidents in Hartford – one involving paralysis and the other a fatality.

No one has yet been arrested in the most recent rash of stolen cars, but McCue said that overnight Friday into Saturday West Hartford Police were able to use stop sticks to stop a vehicle that was heading through town after having been stolen elsewhere. There were four people in the car, and police apprehended two juveniles, he said. The other two fled.

Police said residents should be sure to:

  • Lock their cars
  • Remove all keys – including keys to other vehicles – and key fobs from the car
  • Remove all valuables from the car at night
  • Call police if they hear or see anything suspicious

The West Hartford Police non-emergency number is 860-523-5203.

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  • Any comment from the police department on their plan to deter this criminal activity – such increased patrols in late evening/early morning hours? This isn’t a new or isolated issue facing the town, and advising residents to lock their car doors doesn’t seem to proactively address the root of the issue, which is the apparent widespread increase of criminals roaming our streets in the middle of the night and preying upon the affluent.

  • Perhaps the increase in “criminals roaming our streets” is directly related to the apathy of the affluent victims? Could less opportunity lead to less car related crime?

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