DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nine people under the age of 18 have been connected to a string of car break-ins in Durham that date back to June.
Durham Police Department announced it had filed juvenile petitions for kids in two different groups believed to be responsible for multiple stolen vehicles and dozens of car break-ins that happened between June 27 - July 24.
Many of the car break-ins and thefts happened at apartment complexes across the Bull City. However, investigators said they believe these same juveniles committed similar crimes in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Cary, Carrboro, Morrisville, Wendell and Franklinton.
Alex Mikhailov lives at one of the apartment complexes where some of the break-ins happened. He said it reminded him to take precaution.
"Just leave all the stuff out of the car, don't leave anything, bottles of water ... what's going to provoke people to break into your car," he said.
Mike Crawford also lives at a location where the juveniles struck. His car wasn't damaged during one of the specifically linked break-ins, but that's only because his car was stolen months ago and he just got it back.
"The back wheels were gone so they had to order new wheels, the engine seized up so they had to put a brand new engine on it, there was a lot wrong with it," he said.
Crawford said police told him they suspected teenagers were responsible.
"They punched out this window. They tried to get in right here," he said. "They tore apart the whole steering column, so we had to get new locks, new ignition, brand new engine and everything."
Car crime prevention
DPD said here are some ways to minimize your odds of becoming a victim:
- Secure your vehicle. Lock all doors, and do not leave windows cracked, even in the summer.
- Remove laptops, tablets, cell phones, and chargers.
- Remove cash, coins, radar detectors, GPS devices and sports equipment.
- Use anti-theft and/or vehicle alarms.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Don't leave a spare key in your vehicle.
- Don't leave your vehicle running unattended.
- Report suspicious activity to 911 immediately. When in doubt, call 911.