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Mville cops shut down chop shop - Residents warned about car theft dangers
MARYSVILLE Police are urging residents to keep their vehicles extra safe after they found a chop shop in the citys south end earlier this month.
A resident called Marysville police after finding a half-dozen stolen cars on a piece of property he recently sold to a developer. The vacant house was being used to strip the stolen cars, two of which were taken from one victim.
Thats a lot of cars, said Marysville Police Department Commander Ralph Krusey. Every single car that was there was a stolen car.
The land was being used as a strip and dump site, according to Sergeant Darin Rasmussen, chief detective for the department. The former property owner is not a suspect, and simply wanted to have the cars removed. Police have no suspects in custody and few leads.
At that point we just wanted to recover the property, Rasmussen said.
Ralph Brodie is the man who reported the cars on land in the Sunnyside neighborhood that his family recently sold. He said he has had trouble in the past with break-ins at the place and suggested the police question some nearby residents. He found the vehicles during a visit to the property; of the six, five were Hondas or Acuras, the other was a 1994 Ford F-150 pickup truck.
They were scrapping them out right there. I imagine it was drug guys, Brodie said. They got to start patrolling more.
Krusey estimated the activity could have occurred over the last year, but wasnt sure. Car thefts are on the rise, but he didnt think the city was having any more problems with stolen cars than other jurisdictions. Several high-profile thefts involved children taken along with a vehicle, and both officers urged people to use some smarts when leaving their cars parked anywhere, even in their garages.
Weve had a marked increase in the amount of stolen cars over the last two years, like a lot of jurisdictions, Krusey said.
People can reduce their risks by reducing their exposure, he warned: dont leave valuables in your car period, and if you have to leave something make sure it is not in plain sight. Lock your car at all times, and dont warm up your car in the driveway unattended, even with the doors locked. Since this time of year is shopping season, he doubled the warning for folks who might be tempted to make multiple trips to their cars to stow gifts and other purchases.
Auto thefts are primarily caused by opportunity, Krusey said. Harden the target, dont leave things in plain sight.
Rasmussen cautioned residents not to leave their keys or purses in their cars, even if the cars are in their garage.
There were 222 cars stolen in Marysville in 2004, the last year data is available for; thats up from 150 in 2000. Following years saw a rise from 221 thefts in 2001 to a peak of 259 in 2002, and then a sharp drop to 207 stolen vehicles in 2003. Krusey couldnt explain any reasons for the fluctuations, such as the economy or other factors, and didnt think the department had put more emphasis on the issue than usual during those years.
We have a bait car that we put out, we were doing that, Krusey explained, adding that educating owners is probably the departments best tool. The police are working on an auto theft prevention brochure and that will be incorporated into the spring newsletter mailed to all residences, he said.