Rash of Toyota thefts in Chapel Hill

April 5, 2012 7:06:20 AM PDT
Maybe it's related, or maybe it's not, but Chapel Hill police are warning car owners to take precautions after a rash of car thefts involving Toyotas.

Of 12 stolen vehicle reports taken by police so far this year, eight have involved Toyota models from 1998-2002.

Police said it's unclear if the thefts are connected.

Police had some tips for car owners:

  • Close car windows and the sunroof when parking your car.
  • Don't leave a spare car key in the vehicle.
  • Never keep the title to your vehicle inside the car.
  • Leave nothing with your name and address, social security number or other personal information in your vehicle.
  • Make photocopies of vehicle registration, proof of insurance and other important information in case they are needed later.
  • Don't leave your car with the motor running. A car left unattended and with the motor running is an open invitation to a thief.
  • Your car is safer in your driveway than on the street; but it's even safer in a locked garage.
  • Park your vehicle on a well-lighted street and in a well-traveled place if possible.
  • Turn car wheels sharply toward or away from the curb and set the brake.
  • Leave your car parked in first gear or in reverse if your car has a manual transmission.
  • Don't tempt thieves by leaving items in plain sight, on car seats, or on the floor.
  • Car alarms and steering wheel locks may help keep thieves from choosing your vehicle.

Anyone who has information that might lead police to the thieves is asked to call the Chapel Hill Police Department at (919) 968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515. You can also submit information to Crime Stoppers online at www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.

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