Recent thefts and break-ins prompt warnings

by Wes Mayer

In light of a high number of recently reported thefts in neighborhoods north of Newnan, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office is reminding homeowners to take precautions to protect their property.

“We are going to get them,” said Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. “We just have to cut down on their opportunities.”

These thefts, which have been largely reported in the last three months along U.S. Highway 29 North — in the Newnan Pines, Lake Hills and Heritage Hills subdivisions and neighborhoods along Hal Jones Road, Country Club Road and Old Atlanta Highway — mostly involve valuables being stolen from unlocked vehicles, according to Yeager.

The suspects responsible for the thefts are simply opening unlocked vehicles late at night or early in the morning and taking whatever can be found inside. “We want to encourage homeowners to lock their doors, lock their vehicles, and remove any valuables out of plain view,” Yeager said. “Take that crime of opportunity away from these individuals.”

Yeager, who has spoken to many concerned homeowners, said some are worried that if they lock their car doors, the thieves will then break a car window to get in. According to Yeager, this is not the case. There has only been one reported incident of a window being shattered, and that was because the thief saw a handbag lying in plain sight inside.

Most of the time, if the suspects find a vehicle locked, they will move on to the next one, Yeager said. There have also been reports of cars being broken into, but nothing was stolen. Because the doors were unlocked, the suspects had the opportunity to rummage around inside.

Homeowners should remember to lock doors to homes and close garage doors, especially at night, Yeager said, adding there have been a few reported burglaries in the area as well. According to Yeager, homeowners should stay on the lookout for suspicious activity. Residents should not put themselves in harm’s way in doing so, but if a residents sees or hears anything out of the ordinary, they should contact authorities immediately.

“If you hear something, if your dog starts barking at a time of the night when it normally doesn’t, call us,” Yeager said. “That might just be what we need.”

Investigators with the sheriff’s office have been working diligently to apprehend suspects in the thefts, Yeager said, and they are in the process of looking at evidence. He assures the sheriff’s office is just as frustrated about the ongoing situation as the homeowners and victims.

“We want this stopped,” Yeager said. “We want an arrest just as much as anybody.”

Yeager said he would be happy to speak with anyone who has questions or concerns about the incidents or the investigation. They can call the sheriff’s office at 770-253-1502. Of course, if anyone believes he or she is in immediate danger, they should call 911.

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