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Caution sounded after thefts at greenway lots
Authorities say to lock vehicles, hide valuables
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Forsyth County News

Recent auto break-ins at Forsyth County Big Creek Greenway parking lots have authorities reminding trail-goers of ways to keep their valuables and vehicles safe.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Frampton said the county doesn’t have many reports of cars being entered at parking areas for the popular trail in south Forsyth, but they do occur “sporadically.”

Like any place that has several vehicles, the greenway can be a choice location for thieves.

“Anywhere there’s more cars,” Frampton said. “The more cars, the better chance.”

Two greenway visitors who parked Friday at the Bethelview Road trailhead returned to find wallets had been taken from their vehicles.

And at the McFarland Parkway trailhead, someone broke out the window of a sport utility vehicle Saturday morning.

Frampton said thieves often will check handles to find a car that’s unlocked, but those who force entry into a locked car have usually spotted something they want.

“Lock your car. Don’t leave any valuables in sight,” he said. “If you have any valuables, don’t wait until you get to your destination to put them in the trunk.

“Put them in your trunk before you get to the park, the mall parking lot or whatever. Because if someone knows that it’s in your trunk, then they could break your window to get in.”

Frampton said those planning to commit this type of crime often will wait in a parking lot and watch for people to stow belongings in the trunk and walk away.

Arrests in such cases aren’t common, he said, but the best leads come from witnesses who provide information after seeing suspicious activity.

In Friday’s thefts at the Bethelview Road trailhead, one visitor had locked the doors to the vehicle but left a window rolled down “enough to put an arm in and unlock it,” according to a sheriff’s report.

The other motorist was unsure if the doors had been locked, but the report stated “there was no forced entry.”

Over at the McFarland Parkway trailhead, the sheriff’s report noted that the driver whose window was shattered “had a navigation system attached to the interior of the windshield in plain view.”

Nothing was removed from the SUV, however a deputy had just arrived to patrol the area.

The deputy noticed a suspicious man driving off. A check of the vehicle’s tag number revealed it had been reported stolen.

According to the sheriff’s report, “It is entirely plausible that the driver of the stolen vehicle … had committed this crime and was driven from the area.”