MEDINA – Police are seeing an increase in home burglaries, sparked by thieves breaking into cars at theaters and restaurants and getting the owner’s address off the registration.
Recently, a Medina woman was on a lunch date with her mother. She parked her car at a restaurant in Redmond and went inside. When she returned, she discovered her car had been taken.
"The victim called police to report the stolen car, then she had to call again once she got home because she realized she had been robbed," said Lt. Dan Yourkoski. Medina Police Department. "It's a growing pattern on the Eastside. At least one-to-two of these types of robberies are happening here every week.”
Police started noticing the increase back in March.
"It's the same routine," said Lt. Yourkoski, "Thieves target a car outside a restaurant or a movie theater, somewhere they know people will not be returning to their cars quickly."
After that it only takes moments for the suspects to get inside the car and pull out the car registration.
"That's the key for them, because the thieves get the car owner’s home address and then head right over to the house," said Lt. Yourkoski.
The thieves usually spend about ten minutes inside the home. In Medina, the woman who reported the stolen car discovered about $20,000 worth of jewelry had been taken. She did not want to give an interview for fear her home would be targeted again.
"I had heard about these types of robberies.” said Kaarin Sharman of Duvall. “So last week when I went to the movies, I grabbed my car registration and put it into my purse for safe keeping.”
Others had no idea this was going on.
"I never thought about thieves getting my address from my car registration in my glove box," said Michelle Arkins. "I'm going to find another place for it."
Lt. Yourkoski believes the thieves work in groups. Until police have more leads to go on, they advise you to make sure any identifiable papers left in your car, including registration, be put in a safer place other than the glove compartment.