Car thefts on the rise in Bartholomew County

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BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (September 28, 2015) - A string of car thefts in Bartholomew County can be blamed in part, officials say, on the county’s overwhelming drug problem. Seven cars have been stolen there in a little more than a week.

Thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise has been stolen from cars in that county, all to fuel a growing drug epidemic.

“We never used to lock our doors, it was that kind of town,” said Columbus resident Daniel Gobin.

“I do feel that there is sort of a complacency because it is a safe town,” he said.

In the last three months in Bartholomew County, officials from the sheriff’s office say 24 cars or trailers have been stolen. Compare that to only 18 in all of last year, that equates to a 33 percent spike.

“If anything I do think it’s probably related to drugs,” said Columbus resident Sherman Franz.

The sheriff’s office agrees. They believe the thefts are fueled in part by drug addiction. Thieves, according to sheriff’s officials are taking cars and trailers sitting in parking lots for joy rides and stripping anything of value from inside.

A majority of thefts are happening to cars that have keys left inside of them; some cars are even left running.

“I think people should lock their cars just so it’s not a temptation for others,” said Columbus resident Jacqueline Franz.

If you see something out of the ordinary, or if you have information that could lead to the arrests of people stealing these cars, call the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s office at (812) 379-1650.

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