At least a dozen times in the past week, city residents have gone out to their cars only to find somebody has stolen valuables from their vehicles, according to Batavia Police Department Detective Pat Corona.
Corona said the suspect, or suspects, appears to be operating on foot, confining his criminal activities to the city, and preying primarily on unlocked cars and taking easy-to-pilfer items, such as wallets, credit cards, loose change and portable GPSs.
Only once has a car stereo been stolen from a vehicle.
"There isn't a lot of dismantling of vehicles," Corona said. "They are taking items that are easily accessible."
There may be more than one suspect. This morning an investigator reported over police radio: "Who's ever breaking into these cars probably has a lookout. They left their walkie-talkie behind."
Corona confirmed that the thief has left items behind, but didn't want to discuss specifics.
"If we find any evidence that's been left behind, that could lead us to suspects, we'll certainly take that and gather whatever evidence we can from it," Corona said.
This morning, I've heard three reports of larcenies, the latest just as I was writing this post: A car on Bank Street, just outside of city limits, had a GPS stolen.
Corona's advice: Lock your cars. Don't leave valuables in your cars. And call police with your tips that might help catch these criminals.
"Should people see anything suspicious, don't be shy about calling us," Corona said.
UPDATE: Right after I posted this, the PD put out a press release with a couple of additional details. The larcenies started on June 7. From last night, larcenies were reported on Walnut Street, Swan Street and State Street. The number to call for suspecious activity or to tip the police to a suspect, 345-6350.