June 22, 2012 10:08:52 AM
A wave of burglaries is sweeping through apartment complexes in Starkville. A worker at one complex said there have been 67 auto burglaries in Starkville over the past week. The Starkville Police Department confirmed 40 burglaries during the period, including an alarming 11 reports on Wednesday alone from residents of apartment complexes located on South Montgomery and Locksley Way. The remaining burglaries were spread out near Stonehenge, The Polos and College Station, but SPD Lt. Troy Outlaw said that the majority of reports he has seen have come from complexes off Stark Road.
"It's been difficult because we had almost 20 on the west end of town," he said. "That would be like Mallory Lane and the Cross Gates area over there, and then this recent series is way to the southeast end of town."
Outlaw said he believes the incidents are related, adding the items reported missing are usually similar, small items that can be carried and concealed easily.
"We are probably looking at a group of young suspects that are out in the early hours of the morning, watching out for police and hitting cars," Outlaw said. "They are grabbing stuff like cash, iPods and even a few small caliber handguns."
The thieves are not actually breaking into these cars but are instead targeting unlocked cars, according to Outlaw. He said he understands some people would rather leave their car unlocked than have their window broken, but they should be sure to take anything valuable out.
"I get it. I don't have anything against someone leaving their car unlocked," Outlaw said. "They would rather have someone be able to open their door than bust their window, but the only thing is, don't leave stuff in your vehicle."
James Graham, who lives in an apartment complex next to Stonehenge, had heard nothing about the burglaries -- a reoccurring theme with residents in the area. He seemed surprised when told there were 11 in the two-block area Wednesday night.
"It's usually pretty quiet over here," Graham said. "That's the first time I have heard anything about it ... I actually have a shotgun in my truck right now I have been meaning to get out, I definitely will now."
Kameca Woodard, who lives in the Polos, said she had heard nothing about the burglaries either, and that she was outside until about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday and didn't see anything suspicious.
"I leave my windows down a lot and my car has never been touched, thankfully," she said.
Outlaw said the SPD is taking appropriate measures to suppress the high numbers, and that anyone with information should call them.
"We are definitely stepping up our efforts. There may even be some undercover stuff," he said. "But we still need any help we can get from the citizens. If they see anything out or hear anything, call us. Eventually we will catch them."
2. New Hope statutory rape case to go to grand jury COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Woman charged with child exploitation COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY