Over 1700 Columbus vehicles broken into this year, police say

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 12:10 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2021 at 2:34 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus Police say car-break ins are on the rise with more than 1700 so far this year.

What’s being stolen out of the cars is even more concerning for police, hundreds of guns are being taken with some being used in crime.

“All times my car has been locked,” said Columbus resident Erika Storer. “They have some sort of Slim Jim device that is breaking into vehicles, not setting off alarms.”

Erika Storer who spoke off camera, says car thefts and car break ins happen often at her apartment complex.

“All of my neighbors have been broken into multiple times,” said Storer. “They have stolen weapons, gold, money - all of those items.”

Although she’s contacted her leasing office and spoken to management, she’s found ways her own ways to stop it from happening.

“I’ve invested in a steering wheel lock that locks the steering wheel because cars are being stolen here,” said Storer.

Across the city of Columbus, police say crime like this has been happening all year. In fact, Sgt. Aaron Evrard says there’s been 1,771 cars broken into so far this year.

“About half of those vehicles were unlocked, and half of them, then were either locked or unknown,” said Sergeant Aaron Evrard, Assistant Public Information Officer at the Columbus Police Department.

Sgt. Evrard recalls one incident where he was in a restaurant parking lot where break-ins happened often. He says the vehicle was unlocked and a loaded gun was in plain view.

“It was a revolver,” said Sgt. Evrard. “It was very clearly a real loaded weapon, and both the driver passenger, nor the vehicle were unlocked.”

The sad part about it, Sgt. Evrard says many of those guns have ended up in the wrong people’s hands.

“Many weapons that are used in homicides, many weapons that are used in shootings are stolen weapons,” said Sgt. Evrard.

While there’s no law saying you can’t have your gun in your car, Sgt. Evrard says it’s best to make sure you have your weapon secured and around you at all times.

“Secured in your home somewhere, and last resort if it has to be in the vehicle, find a way to secure that weapon in your vehicle,” said Sgt. Evrard.

Sgt. Evrard also says 466 weapons have been stolen so far this year. With 519 weapons stolen just last year, he says the city’s about to break that record.

He also encourages people to buy alarm systems and tracking devices as well as always lock up your vehicles and roll up your windows.

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