Man in custody after a score of automobile thefts

Jun 22, 2023, 12:13 PM | Updated: 12:41 pm

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — A man is in custody, accused of breaking into cars Wednesday afternoon and stealing hundreds in cash.

It happened in the parking lot of Ridley’s Family Markets in Eagle Mountain. Someone saw something strange and called police.

In this case, the person is reported to have had a tool that could easily break glass and went car to car smashing windows. The process is fast.

Even without a tool, if a door is unlocked, theft can happen as quickly as peeking through a window, seeing something desirable, opening the car door and swiping it.

Three minutes is all it took in this case from the time someone saw something wrong and called 911 to authorities taking someone into custody, accused of stealing more than $800. 

“This kind of crime is not a seasonal thing,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said. “They’ll look as they’re walking through a parking lot, and they pick grocery stores. Often, there’s a lot of cars there, (and) make judgment on whether they want to get something out of that car in a matter of seconds.”

Cannon said police learned there had been 16 or 18 auto burglaries reported Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Deputies said the 21-year-old suspect admitted to at least 23 automobile burglaries.

Cannon said while the crime is not seasonal, the clothes one is wearing can impact what a person leaves in their car.

Maybe they don’t have pockets to keep their phones in — or their extra cash in — so they absentmindedly leave it in their car. Or, they purposely leave it in the car because they don’t want to be walking through the store with a pair of gym shorts on carrying their wallet and their phone,” Cannon said.

He said a best practice is to lock car doors and not leave valuables behind.

“I would discourage people from leaving things in your car, but if you do, put it in a trunk,” Cannon said.

Anyone noticing missing items from their car is encouraged to report it to police.

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Man in custody after a score of automobile thefts