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Summit County Sheriff Department Warns Of Persistent Burglary Problems In The Basin

Summit County Sheriff's Department

The Summit County Sheriff’s department is asking citizens to educate themselves, to guard against the persistent problem of vehicle burglaries in the Basin.

Sheriff Justin Martinez noted they are even talking about the problem with Salt Lake news media.

The vehicle burglaries have been plaguing local trailheads in particular. Sheriff Martinez said it’s a shame that thieves are preying on people who are hiking or biking on the Basin trail system.

“We have people coming up, we believe from the Valley, that are looking for those that are leaving their valuables in plain sight," Martinez explained. "We actually did an interview with Channel 4 news about a week ago. We went to the trail head and we were just sort of filming the people getting out of their vehicles. Then we would just sort of follow up behind and just have the cameras look in the cars. It was amazing how many people just leave their valuables in plain sight. In addition to that there's a couple cars that the door just unlocked.”

The Sheriff said his message to the public is—don’t be a victim. He said thieves are cruising areas where they know motorists will be away from their cars for a considerable amount of time. The crooks set no pattern. They’re not active on a particular day or time of day.

He said it’s not just trailheads that are a problem.

“They're targeting trailheads because they can see the people get out of their vehicles and then they can head into the woods and such," Martinez continued. "But, I think anywhere—even going to the grocery store, going out to eat—any chance that you get, don't leave your car unlocked. Don't leave your windows down and obviously don't leave anything in plain sight. Even if you do lock up appropriately if you leave a computer right there in the front seat they're going to go ahead and smash the window. What we're really doing is just trying to educate the community. Please when you get out of your vehicle make sure you have all your valuables with you your wallet, credit cards. If you have to leave a computer in the vehicle, briefcase or such, cover with window shades, a jacket, something. People as they just walked by won't see it and will move on to the next car.”

One theory recommends leaving a car unlocked, but clearly empty of items that would tempt a thief. We asked the sheriff his opinion of that approach.

“I get the theory behind that," Martinez said. "That if you basically are completely transparent and as somebody goes by your vehicle, they see nothing. They see the doors open that it’s not worth it for them because they see nothing in there. What that could potentially lead to is car theft. You have now left your doors open; you left your windows down. Car thieves don't need the key to get the get the engine running. So, you could potentially leave your vehicle vulnerable to having the whole vehicle be stolen.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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