Burglaries prompt warning by police

Published 10:30 am Friday, February 19, 2016

Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger is again reminding residents to lock their home and vehicle doors — even if they’re only going to be gone for five minutes — after a second burglary this week.

A woman’s purse was stolen from her vehicle at Neveln Elementary School at 7 p.m. on Wednesday while she was picking up her grandchildren from school.

When she returned to her vehicle 10 minutes later, the purse was gone, along with a cell phone, driver’s license, bank and credit cards and more. However, she didn’t report it to the police until 5:05 p.m. Thursday.

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About an hour later at 6:18 p.m. Thursday, police received a call to report a damaged fence on the 2000 block of East Oakland Avenue. The property owner said there were footprints in the snow and reported finding a purse.

Policed matched the purse to the victim, but the contents are still missing. Police are trying to locate the victim to return her purse.

The burglary is the second this week after two flatscreen TVs were taken from a house after a renter reportedly had left with the man who rented the room’s belongings.

Austin saw a spike in burglaries last year, which led police to repeatedly urge people to lock their vehicles and homes.

“Locking your doors is number one,” Police Captain Dave McKichan previously told the Herald. “Be it thefts from homes, from cars, it’s much rarer for us to see a forced entry burglary or a broken window burglary than to see the door was unlocked, the window was unlocked, the car was unlocked.”

The number of burglaries in Austin spiked to 220 in 2015, which is about 60 more than the average of 157 from 2010 to 2014, and an increase of about 40 percent, according to the Austin Police Department’s 2014 annual report.

Remembering to lock your doors when you’re not home and even locking your doors at night when you are home can go a long way in preventing a burglary, McKichan said.