Business owner, police warn of thieves targeting parking lots near I-65

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Greenwood, Ind - A Greenwood business owner and police are sending out a warning about thieves who target parking lots located near interstate exits.

Kwang Casey, owner of Oaken Barrel Brewing Company, says two of his customers became theft victims while they were having dinner in his restaurant Sunday night.

“After the race, between 7 and 8 o’clock, in the middle of the rain storm, a couple cars got broken into,” Casey said.

The thieves were determined enough to deal with the heavy rainfall and they seemed to know what they were looking for, Casey said.  One vehicle had a laptop computer stolen out of it.  The other had an iPad and purse taken.

Oaken Barrel is located just off Main Street, near the Greenwood ramp onto I-65.  Casey says he has heard about prior car break-ins at restaurants like Denny’s, just down the road on Main Street, and Cheeseburger in Paradise, off Southport Road.

“I hear there are professional thieves that target restaurants and hotels, businesses along the interstate exits,” Casey said.

Greenwood Police Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth couldn’t say if the Sunday night break-ins were connected to other thefts in the area.  But he said thieves often target parking lots that are located close to I-65 and other interstates.

“You can get on the interstate after committing a crime, and you can be from Greenwood to downtown Indianapolis in ten minutes,” Fillenwarth said.

Aside from the prospect of a fast getaway, Fillenwarth said thieves often take advantage of the transient nature of parking lots located near interstate exits.  Since restaurants and hotels have different cars parked in them every day, criminals are able to find new potential victims each day.  And unlike neighborhoods, criminals can move around these areas more freely without attracting attention.

“So if it’s midnight, and you see a strange car driving around your neighborhood, it’s probably more likely to draw attention, than if you’re driving around a business around the interstate,” Fillenwarth said.

Fillenwarth repeated the public reminder to never leave electronics or other valuables in your car.  Even if you try to hide valuables in your vehicle, a thief who may be watching the parking lot you’re in will see where you hide it.

Casey says he’s now planning to install more lights and security cameras around the Oaken Barrel Brewing Company parking lot.

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