INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW) — Since Monday, there have been two dozen vehicle break-ins at hotels along Rockside Road, city police reported.

Thieves stole two cars from one hotel parking lot late Wednesday night. Elsewhere, they attempted to steal a third, and also made off with personal belongings inside, according to a Thursday news release from Independence Police Department.

Police are now encouraging residents to park their cars in a safe place, keep them locked and keep valuables inside hidden.

“In many cases, cars were unlocked, or people left items in their cars that were visible externally, and the cars were broken into,” Chief Robert Butler is quoted in a news release. “The city has met with the management of the hotels in this area to discuss the importance of having surveillance cameras in their parking lots.”

Thieves the night of Wednesday, Aug. 30, took a Chevrolet pickup truck and a Kia SUV from the parking lot of the La Quinta by Wyndham, 6161 Quarry Lane, according to a police report.

Security footage from that incident shows two Black men in black masks — one wearing a red hoodie; the other wearing a black hoodie — get out of a Kia sedan The Kia was later identified as stolen from Cleveland.

Independence police are now encouraging residents to:

  • Lock their vehicles and keep the windows closed
  • Secure their car keys
  • Park in secure, well-lit areas
  • Remove valuables or keep them out of sight
  • Activate their car alarms
  • Install safety devices
  • Properly insure your vehicle

A car can be ransacked in about 30 seconds — so quick that an alarm isn’t much of a deterrent, according to police. But the majority of vehicle break-ins involve unlocked vehicles. Thieves like to canvass driveways and streets checking for unlocked cars. If they’re locked, they’re more likely to just move on.

Residents are also encouraged to immediately report anything suspicious they see or hear, rather than wait until the next day. Independence Police Department can be reached at 216-524-1234.