SPOKANE-- Spokane Police said Wednesday they are combatting a 40% rise in vehicle prowling by introducing a new campaign to help citizens prevent theft.
Spokane Police Crime Analysis experts have seen a 38% increase in vehicle prowling activity in the past year and while SPD continues to combat these crimes by responding to and arresting offenders, the department is taking a proactive approach with the “Remove it or Lose it” campaign. The campaign offers tips to prevent vehicle prowling from information gathered from victims of the crime (most had left valuables in sight, etc.)
“Remove it or Lose it” offers the following tips to citizens:
• Park your car in a well lit or high traffic area
• Don’t leave valuables in plain sight inside your car
• Keep your car doors locked
• When shopping, lock bags in the trunk
• If you see someone in your car, call 911
Tuesday morning, SPD graveyard officer Chris Johnson responded to a report of a vehicle prowling near Monroe and Augusta. A witness observed the suspect, Shabrawn M. Rautio (7/28/91), break the passenger window of a vehicle parked in a nearby lot. The witness called police, and Ofc. Johnson located Rautio walking south on Monroe. Rautio was carrying the red back pack he stole out of the car, which contained the victim’s laptop and college homework.
Rautio was initially very uncooperative with Ofc. Johnson and continued to lie about his name. He eventually provided accurate information and officers returned the backpack its owner, who was extremely grateful for the return of her things.
Vehicle prowling, similar to burglary, occurs when a suspect enters a vehicle (rather than a home, as is the case with burglary) with the intent to commit a crime. Both crimes violate a person’s privacy and are particularly devastating when personal belongings are stolen.