Residents concerned over increase in vehicle thefts, break-ins in Johnson County

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. -- As the number of vehicle thefts continues to rise in Johnson County, the sheriff says their department is stepping up patrols but they also need your help. 

Sheriff's deputies continue to receive reports of vehicle thefts in White River Township, in northwest Johnson County. 

The sheriff's department received two vehicle theft reports and one theft from a vehicle report from White River Township Monday night, but these are crimes that Sheriff Doug Cox says are happening on a more consistent and much-too-often basis. 

Sheriff Cox says several Johnson County communities, such as Greenwood, Franklin and Whiteland, are experiencing similar problems. 

"Frustrating for us, a lot of these cases involve firearms left in vehicles, purses, wallets, computers," said Sheriff Cox. "Just a few days ago we caught a group in one of our additions. One person stayed - three others fled. We have a video of a separate theft with someone walking around with a mask. It's frustrating."

One person shared this video on YouTube of an attempted car break-in near Smith Valley Road in White River Township.

Sheriff Cox says his deputies are increasing patrols, especially in areas that seem to be targeted the most, but they can't stop the problem themselves. 

He says they need everyone's help to prevent these crimes from happening. 

"Biggest thing, if you have space in your garage to park your vehicle, do so," said Sheriff Cox. "Close your garage door in the evening."

Sheriff Cox says there have already been 48 thefts from vehicles reported in 2018, and that number goes up each day. 

He says generally they don't catch the suspects in these crimes, although having surveillance video does help. Other than locking your car and putting your car inside your garage, Sheriff Cox says to make sure you report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood. 

"Even if a simple vehicle in your neighborhood doesn't look right, let us know," said Sheriff Cox.

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