West Hartford, and other towns throughout the region, have had an uptick in stolen vehicles and vehicle burglaries and have made multiple arrests and are seeking warrants for additional suspects who will be charged with as many as 107 counts.
By Ronni Newton
Police in West Hartford and throughout the region have been collaborating and sharing of suspect information in order to address the rash of car break-ins and stolen cars that have recently affected many communities..
“Each month there is a regional detective meeting where police agencies send representatives to share information on crimes, because many criminals are transient and do not abide by jurisdictional boundaries,” West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove said. A major topic of discussion at these recent meetings has been the rise in car burglaries and thefts, and the collaboration has assisted detectives everywhere in their investigations.
Specifically in West Hartford, Gove said that multiple suspects have recently been arrested, and numerous warrants are also outstanding for suspects who have been linked to other incidents that took place earlier in the summer. Many of the suspects are juveniles.
Early this morning, Gove said that police apprehended Alexander Diaz, 22, of Laurel Street in Hartford in connection with car burglary.
Gove said that officers responded to a report from an astute citizen at 4 a.m. Thursday who observed a suspect going through the interior of her car in the area of 1277 Boulevard.
The man fled on foot before officers arrived, Gove said, but police soon located him in the process of burglarizing another car on a nearby street. Police engaged in a foot chase, with the assistance of a K-9, and apprehended and arrested Diaz.
Diaz has been charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and one count of interfering with an officer, Gove said.
Police continue to investigate crimes that took place earlier this summer, including one that impacted a staggering number of vehicles.
Late at night on June 7 or early in the morning of June 8, a rash of car burglaries took place on the west side of town. Police originally said that at least 30 vehicles as well as garages had been broken into in the area of Farmington Avenue, Garfield Road, Sunset Terrace, Tunxis Road, Mountain Road, Ridgewood Road, Sedgwick Road, Lemay Street, and Rosedale Road.
The extent of the spree was even larger than initially reported, and while the case is still active, Gove said Thursday that three suspects – all juveniles – have now been identified and warrant applications have been submitted to juvenile court.
“Each suspect will be charged with 107 counts of burglary,” he said of the three juveniles.
In addition, two suspects have been arrested and charged in connection with car burglaries in the area of Woodlawn and Prescott streets that took place on June 19, Gove said.
In that case, police were notified by a resident who reported seeing two men trying to open car doors. “Responding officers approached the area on foot and ultimately located the two suspects. One was inside a car committing a burglary, the other was hiding underneath a nearby truck,” Gove said. He said that officers arrested both suspects without incident.
Another incident mentioned by Gove involved a vehicle stolen from West Hartford that was recovered by East Hartford Police on July 29. Inside the vehicle, police found items reported stolen from other car break-ins in West Hartford.
Gove said the suspect, who was in the vehicle when it was stopped, has been interviewed by West Hartford detectives and warrants for his arrest are being sought.
West Hartford Police have taken numerous steps to address the rash of car burglaries and thefts and aid in the apprehension of suspects, Gove said. Those measures include deploying extra staff during the overnight hours, having burglarized or recovered stolen vehicles processed by detectives, the tracking of crimes by detectives to determine any patterns of commonalities that might exist, and making administration aware of all incidents that have taken place.
Gove said that although the number of incidents has been high, many of the cases are being successfully solved.
“I want to again point out that these are crimes of opportunity, target hardening – which is a fancy way of saying lock your doors and secure your valuables – would go a long way to deterring those involved. We have very few breaks into locked vehicles; and almost every stolen vehicle has been taken with keys inside of the car or nearby, Gove said.
He added that many of the cases are solved because “astute citizens” call the police to report suspicious activity, and encourages all residents to call.
“Many are hesitant but we need their eyes and ears to help us continue to keep our Town safe,” Gove said.
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