State park parking areas considered 'target-rich' for vehicle prowlers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State park parking areas considered 'target-rich' for vehicle prowlers

















(Thieves know that when they see someone park and leave their
vehicle, they will be gone for more than enough time for the suspect
to break into and ransack the car or truck. File Photo)


SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - A Spokane family learned the hard way last Sunday that speed matters when reporting the loss or theft of credit or debit cards.

The victim called Crime Check and said she, her husband and their daughter had parked their car at the military cemetery off Government Way about 10 a.m. that Sunday. She hid her purse beneath other items and locked the car.

The family walked the Centennial Trail to the TJ Meenach Bridge and then returned to the car, a trip that took about an hour.  In that amount of time, the car had been broken into and her purse stolen.

She immediately called her banks, but learned one card had already been used to purchase gasoline, another had been used to buy $100 in items from a Safeway, and another had been used to purchase $200 in merchandise from a Hastings Book Store.

Her banks canceled the cards to prevent any more fraudulent purchases.

County and state park parking areas, as well as Centennial Trail parking lots, are considered target-rich environments for vehicle prowlers.  These thieves know that when they see someone park and leave their vehicle, they will be gone for more than enough time for the suspect to break into and ransack the car or truck.

For this reason, law enforcement professionals urge park and trail participants to either leave valuables at home or to lock them in the trunk which is less susceptible to being prowled.  When thefts do occur, victims should immediately notify their lending institutions to place a fraud block on their credit or debit cards.

Another consideration is to immediately check your home, since thieves can determine where you live from the vehicle registration. In a case like Sunday's, they might target the home for a burglary knowing that at least most of the family is away from the home for a substantial period of time. 

- Spokane County Sheriff's Office

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