West side communities hit by rash of car thefts, break-ins

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio - A crime spree that started over the summer has escalated in recent weeks across Bay Village

According police, more than half a dozen vehicles have been stolen, with money, electronics and other items pilfered from about 45 other vehicles.

The brazen thieves even ripped off a cellphone from inside a minivan on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Officers say in the majority of the cases, the property was unlocked and/or unsecured, but neighbors worry that things could escalate given the frequency of the crimes.

“It is scary,” said Tammy Smith, whose sister was targeted. “Her big English Mastiff woke them up and when she looked out the window there was somebody looking inside her car.”

The suspects, described as larger, younger looking men took off before police arrived.

However a few miles down the road in Westlake, a home surveillance system captured images of another suspect.

The neighboring suburb has also seen a spike in car thefts and break-ins.

The household CCTV recorded video shows a man rifling through cars on Nov. 26th around 2:35 AM.

Cpt. Guy Turner says credit cards, cash and other items were taken from 12 unlocked cars that morning on several streets around Surrey Cir.

Officers in both cities have stepped up patrols and are investigating and possible connections between the rash of burglaries.

Police are also advising people to be vigilant, keeping both their homes and vehicles locked at all times. Especially with the upcoming holiday season when thieves tend to be out in force stealing packages from porches.

Webcams and neighborhood watches are helpful, but police also recommend that people schedule package deliveries for when they are home or have then delivered to a trusted neighbor's house.

They can also call the shipper and have it held for pickup or utilize their tracking and concierge services.