Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a spike in auto thefts in the Hilo District.
In March, 38 vehicles were reported stolen in Hilo. That compares with 21 stolen in March 2014 and 19 stolen in February of this year. In addition, police responded to eight reports of attempted auto thefts.
Honda sedans were the most common cars stolen, followed by Toyota and Nissan pickup trucks. Only four of the vehicles were taken from homes. Most were stolen while parked at businesses and in commercial parking lots.
During the same period, 10 persons were arrested on suspicion of stealing vehicles and one was arrested for stealing a motorcycle. Seventeen of the stolen vehicles were recovered.
These auto thefts appear to be crimes of opportunity, said Major Randy Apele.
“We urge the public to take precautions against auto theft by removing keys from the ignition of parked vehicles, locking the doors, rolling up the windows, and hiding or remove valuables and any papers containing personal information,” Apele said. “Also, we urge everyone to be vigilant and alert to suspicious persons or activities around parking areas.”
The public is encouraged to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 if they see anything suspicious.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.