West Knox County sees spike in car break-ins

West Knox County sees spike in car break-ins

Posted:
The latest rash of break-ins has been focused in the West Knox County area. The latest rash of break-ins has been focused in the West Knox County area.
"I work hard to earn my money and someone has to take it from me, so it's just kind of sickening," said student Tyler Berry. "I work hard to earn my money and someone has to take it from me, so it's just kind of sickening," said student Tyler Berry.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Law enforcement agents say they've noticed a surge of car break-ins in West Knox County since last weekend.

Deputies say they are not seeing the normal car break-in where thieves just go for unlocked cars.

In the latest rash focused in West Knox County, the thieves are smashing windows and doing other damage to the vehicles in an effort to steal items.

According to the Knox County Sheriff's Department, since Saturday in the Sunchase apartment complex alone, five cars have been broken into. In about a ten-mile radius there have been many more break-ins.

Now, law enforcement wants people who live in the area to be on the lookout.

"It looks like they pried with a screwdriver to get the window out and up here," said Tyler Berry, a student at Roane State Community College.

When Berry woke up to go to work, he was shocked to find his car had been broken into.

The driver's side rear glass was gone and there was damage to both the interior and exterior of his car.

"It looks like they got a pry bar to try and get into my trunk through the back seats and it just ripped them off the hinges," said Berry.

He also noticed his bookbag was missing. Someone stole his calculator and $600 worth of text books.

"I work hard to earn my money and someone has to take it from me, so it's just kind of sickening," said Berry.

Berry is not alone. In his apartment complex, others have recently reported car break-ins.

According to records, since Saturday in a ten square mile radius around 15 cars were broken into.

Det. Mark Harvey with the Knox County Sheriff's Office says there's been a surge in smash and grab car break-ins around the Cedar Bluff Road area. This includes reports from North Gallaher View Road to near Lovell Road.

"The standard car break-in is where they just try to lift the handle of an unlocked car," said Det. Harvey. "This is where they are actually breaking glass and I suspect they are going after items left in plain sight."

Det. Harvey says it only takes a couple of seconds for a thief to break in and to help catch the criminals. The community needs to be alert.

"We have increased our patrol presence in the area. We are also asking residents in the area to be more attentive to strangers or strange cars," said Harvey.

He says to help avoid becoming a victim, always lock your car and never leave anything visible inside your vehicle. It's something Berry says he will never do again.

"I guarantee I won't leave anything in the back seat anymore or in my car that's visible," said Berry.

Berry says between the items stolen and the damage done to his car, the incident will cost more than $1,000, but he does have insurance.

According to some of the other incident reports, others had their cars stereo stolen.

No arrests have been made in the car break-ins. Officials say the break-ins are occurring between midnight and 5 a.m.

If you have any information, you're asked to contact authorities.

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