LAYTON — The trouble started about three months ago, when the first series of car burglaries, thefts and residential thefts happened in Davis County.
It has since ballooned into a major problem that law enforcement agencies in northern Davis County and southern Weber County are trying to figure out, so much so that the Layton Police Department is offering a $500 reward for help in finding out who’s responsible for the rash of crime in the area.
“Over the last couple months, Layton City and surrounding cities in Davis County have seen an increase in vehicle thefts, vehicle burglaries, and residential burglaries. Investigation into these crimes lead us to believe they are being committed by the same individuals. We are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved,” a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page Wednesday reads.
Last week, Syracuse Police posted a statement to its Facebook page saying it had recorded 35 incidents of car thefts, burglaries and residential burglaries in the past three months. The number has slightly increased in the past week.
What’s happening, Syracuse Police detective and Public Information Officer Erin Behm said, “is people are leaving their vehicles unlocked and their garage doors open overnight, making it easy for people to get in and steal their stuff.”
Police departments are urging people to lock their cars, not leave valuable items in cars, shut their garage doors and report any suspicious activity.
Behm said that for Syracuse specifically, these are crimes of opportunity.
Video footage posted to the department’s Facbeook page shows one suspected incident, in which a person wearing all-black clothes walks up to an Audi sedan in someone’s driveway, tries to open the door and then leaves.
The person then joins three others in a silver sedan idling in the street and the car drives away. This particular incident appeared to happen either before sunrise or after sundown.
Clearfield Police Assistant Chief Devin Rogers said investigators from “multiple” agencies met Wednesday to share information and try to figure out who’s responsible.
Rogers said Clearfield has had 13 car burglary cases reported since June 20, and the department posted a warning about the trend to its Facebook page July 7.
“Please lock your vehicles and secure your personal belongings!” the post read. “The southeast portion of the city (South of Antelope and East of Main Street) has experienced an increase in auto burglaries and vehicle thefts. We suspect the same suspects are committing several thefts in Clearfield as well as thefts in surrounding cities. The video we obtained shows the vehicle driving (slowly) in the neighborhood with individuals walking and checking vehicles to see if they can find an unlocked door. If you recognize the vehicle or suspect please call us. We have increased our patrol efforts in this area.”
Just after July 4, Rogers said Clearfield had six or seven car burglaries and one car theft reported in one night alone in the same area of the city, an indication of a troubling trend.
“What’s more concerning is it comes in waves,” Rogers said.
It’s not one burglary per night or per week, rather several at a time. Rogers said that makes it harder for authorities to pin down the criminals because they’re moving around so much.
Neither department has found a reason why there’s been a sudden uptick in the crimes.
Rogers said the reason why there’s a strong belief among agencies that the crimes are being committed by one group is because the departments, after sharing information, have found similarities in the types of crimes as well as the suspects committing them in different cities.
At least one city in Weber County is dealing with the rash of crime. On Tuesday, Riverdale City posted a statement to its Facebook page addressing the trend.
“There have been several vehicle burglaries/attempted vehicle burglaries during the past few nights, a couple as recent as last night,” reads the post, attributed to Mayor Norm Searle. “They are occurring in different parts of the city, even in my own neighborhood. I would strongly suggest that you keep your vehicles locked and when possible off the street at night. Also, please remember to call the police department, 911 for emergencies (burglary in progress), or, 801-629-8221 non-emergency number. Your phone call may make a difference in apprehending the suspects and having stolen items returned to their rightful owner.”
A LexisNexis crime database, communitycrimemap.com, indicates Riverdale PD has investigated at least six thefts since June 16, including a motor vehicle, a firearm and two bicycles.
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office also warned of an increase in thefts, asking the public to lock their cars and take valuables, particularly guns, out of cars.
Calls to the South Ogden and Riverdale Police departments weren’t returned by publication. A Roy Police Department lieutenant couldn’t confirm whether the trend was also happening in that city.