TRUMBULL COUNTY Break-ins increase; police on alert

Police are asking people to make sure they lock their vehicles.
HOWLAND -- A rash of vehicle break-ins is prompting an increase in police patrols in several Trumbull County communities.
Police chiefs here and in Niles, Bazetta and Cortland, report a rash of break-ins the past few months.
They have increased patrols during the early morning.
"Since May, we have had 36 vehicle break-ins," said Howland Police Chief Steve Lamantia.
"At first they started in the Howland Springs, but we have had reports all over the township."
He said that over the past weekend, several cars were broken into in the FoxCroft area off state Route 46, about a half-mile north of the police station.
"From what is being taken we believe that it's probably juveniles, but it's really hard to say," Lamantia said.
Lamantia, Niles Chief Bruce Simeone, Cortland Chief Gary Mink and acting Bazetta Chief Chuck Sayers said most of the break-ins have been occurring overnight in residential areas.
Simeone noted there have also been a few reported around the Eastwood Mall area.
What to do
Lamantia said people must remember to lock their vehicles.
"Most of the vehicles hit in our township were unlocked," he said.
Simeone said patrols have been beefed up in the Niles residential areas as well as around Eastwood Mall.
Anyone who hears or sees something suspicious should call police, Simeone said.
"If you wake up in the middle of the night, look out your window for a couple of minutes to see what's going on," he said.
"If people see no lights on, they feel freer to move around a neighborhood. If they see lights or some activity, they're less interested."
The break-ins seem to start in one community and then move to another in an effort to keep authorities off balance, Simeone said.
Sayers noted that the six car break-ins in July in Bazetta have been on the west side of the township, and Mink said those in Cortland have been all over the city.
"We had 13 this month," Mink noted.
The chiefs urged residents to remove cash, credit cards, laptop computers, purses and wallets from parked vehicles.

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