WARREN TOWNSHIP - Police are warning residents to lock their vehicle doors in the aftermath of a series of thefts early Monday morning - including the theft of a loaded gun.
Warren Township police Lt. Don Bishop said at least six vehicles were hit between 1:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.
"This is one of the biggest problems we have. If you don't lock your car, you're a pretty easy target. These people are mostly looking at vehicles they can get into easy and fast, steal what they can like iPods, change, anything that they think can make them some quick cash. Sometimes they look for dope," Bishop said.
Bishop said the township has had issues with individuals coming from Warren and stealing what they can out of vehicles.
About 1 a.m. April 29, police arrested two Warren males, including a 15-year-old, accused of breaking into vehicles in the area of North Leavitt Road and Turner Road.
Bishop said charges are pending against each of them. He said the two had handkerchiefs with locks tied to them, pocket knives and backpacks when police caught them.
On Monday, police were called about 1:30 a.m. to the area of Caleb Road, where witnesses reported seeing an individual looking into vehicles. Witnesses said the person was tall, thin and appeared to be a male juvenile. They said he was wearing a hat and carrying a backpack.
About an hour later, police were called to the area of Pendleton Road and Flora Road in reference to an individual witnesses said was going from vehicle to vehicle, Bishop said. He said officers searched the area on foot but found nothing. However, police reported hearing what they thought was a gunshot.
About 6:55 a.m., police received reports that items were taken from three vehicles in the Flora Road area. Bishop said along with other items, a .38-caliber handgun was missing from a vehicle.
Later, a backpack was found in a ditch near the Turner Road area where police had initially responded. Bishop said the backpack was full of stolen items. He said the gun was recovered with the other items; however, it had one spent casing.
"I don't know why he fired the gun, if he just wanted to try it out or he heard us in the area and got spooked and maybe just dropped everything and got out of there," Bishop said.
Bishop said police had returned some of the items to the rightful owners but were trying to locate the owner of several credit cards.
"We're still trying to sort some of it out," he said. "We're trying to get the information out there. We've put it out to our block watch people. It would be nice if people locked their car doors and stopped making it so easy for these guys."
Township police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 330-898-5501.