The yahoos who target parked and unattended vehicles for theft are always looking for an easy mark and one that will yield some profit.

Often, vehicle owners will make their vehicle easy prey by leaving the doors unlocked with valuables left in plain view. These careless owners might as well post a large, flashing neon sign atop their vehicle advertising a thief’s blue light special.

According to the Bureau of Justice of the Office of Justice Programs, between 70 and 90 percent of all vehicles burglarized in the United States were not locked at the time of the burglary. Central Texas statistics are comparable.

What’s the matter with us? More to the point, what’s the matter with some of you? I lock my vehicle when it is unattended, and I leave nothing in plain view whether valuable or not. I always park in a well-lit area and live in a neighborhood where neighbors look out for one another. It isn’t all that difficult.

Is it laziness or apathy, carelessness or negligence that causes people to do stupid things such as leaving a vehicle unlocked and crammed full of computers, smart phones, wallets and purses? Whatever the reason, we see it nearly everyday. Wise up, dolts! If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Worse yet, your insurance provider may use your negligence as fodder to deny your claim. While the law is on your side, I personally have little sympathy for your loss under these circumstances.

On April 23, a vehicle was burglarized in Cove, during which a debit card was stolen. The card was used the same day at Wal-Mart. This is how theft of this kind works. Thieves will use a stolen card quickly, so as to squeeze the most out of it before the rightful owner discovers the theft and reports the card stolen.

In surveillance photos taken at Wal-Mart on April 23, the thieves are seen leaving the store after having used the stolen card. Now folks, these photos couldn’t have been better if the thieves had posed for a professional photographer.

Anyone who knows this couple can easily identify them. Added to that, the thieves were seen driving away in a green Kia Spectra with front-end damage.

Those who possess knowledge about the identities or location of these thieves owe it to the community and to themselves to provide that information to the police. Failing to do so makes you an accessory to the crime. Do the right thing.

Assaults

Twelve assaults were reported during the preceding seven-day period, five of which were perpetrated against family members, including a continuous sexual abuse of a child.

  • The continuous sexual abuse of a child was reported May 5. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the victim.
  • An assault by threat was reported May 2 in the 400 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Injury to a child was reported May 3. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the victim.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported May 5 in the 1600 block of Veterans Avenue.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported May 5 in the 2300 block of Bernice Circle.
  • An assault by threat was reported May 4 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • An assault by contact was reported May 7 in the 600 block of South Fifth Street.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported May 7 in the 200 block of Erby Avenue.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported May 8 in the 700 block of Constitution Drive.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported May 8 in the 1100 block of Walt Morgan Circle.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported May 8 in the 1100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful carrying of a weapon was reported May 8 in the 600 block of North Main Street.

Theft/burglary

Thirteen thefts were reported this week, several of them from unlocked, unattended vehicles.

  • A theft of currency was reported May 2 in the 800 block of East Avenue D.
  • The theft of a bicycle was reported May 2 in the 300 block of West Lincoln Avenue.
  • A burglary of a vehicle and evading arrest were reported May 5 in the 900 block of South 25th Street.
  • A theft of currency was reported May 5 in the 700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a laptop computer was reported May 5 in the 700 block of Traci Drive.
  • The theft of a sign was reported May 4 in the 200 block of Liberty Bell Lane.
  • The unauthorized use (theft) of a vehicle and theft of electronics was reported May 4 in the 200 block of Bridle Drive.
  • The theft of a trailer was reported May 4 in the 1100 block of Golf Course Road.
  • The theft of a vehicle was reported May 4 in the 400 block of South Main Street. A Ford 350 was reported stolen.
  • A theft of cash was reported May 4 in the 100 block of East Avenue D.
  • The theft of a wallet, cigarettes and currency from a vehicle was reported May 4 in the 900 block of Traci Drive.
  • A theft was reported May 7 in the 900 block of Chalk Street.
  • A theft was reported May 7 in the 2900 block of Grimes Crossing Road.

Other crimes

  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported May 3 in the 2100 block of Circle Drive.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported May 5 in the 1000 block of Park Avenue.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information May 5 in the 600 block of Courtney Lane.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported May 2 in the 200 block of Robertson Avenue.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 3 in the 200 block of Gibson Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 8 in the 3000 block of Sundown Lane.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 7 in the 600 block of Allen Street.
  • Reckless driving was reported May 3 in the 900 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Evading arrest/detention was reported May 5 in the 2100 block of Lincoln Avenue.
  • Possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces was reported May 5 in the 1400 block of South 23rd Street.
  • Criminal trespass was reported May 4 in the 600 block of Sunset Lane.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia was reported May 7 in the 400 block of West Anderson Avenue. An arrest was made.
  • Forging/altering a prescription was reported May 7 in the 1400 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Phone harassment was reported May 7 in the 1200 block of South Seventh Street.
  • Phone harassment was reported May 2 in the 900 block of South 17th Street.
  • Debit card abuse was reported May 7 in the 800 block of South 13th Street.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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