A total of nine vehicle break-ins were reported in Sedgwick in the early morning (overnight) hours of Feb. 19, somewhat uncharacteristic for the small Harvey County community.
"For our city, that is a ton of vehicle burglaries. We don't get that very often," said Sedgwick Police Chief Larry Alexander.
While Alexander noted the burglaries were isolated in terms of timeframe — with no such other patterns of criminal activity recently — that was not the case in terms of location, as break-ins were reported (progressing block by block) along Madison, Franklin, Commercial and Washington in Sedgwick.
The impact of the burglaries was minimal in terms of value, with a laptop and firearm (both of which Sedgwick PD were able to recover) being the most expensive items stolen. The main target of the break-ins, according to Alexander, was car registration papers — which could present an additional set of issues for victims, given the personal information included therein.
"I was told, years ago, by a deputy that I was talking to that they use those vehicle registrations to steal people's identity and to go get keys made because they have the VIN number to the car," Alexander said.
During Alexander's career, though, he noted he has not yet seen a case with that use of vehicle registration.
Currently, the investigation into the vehicle burglaries is ongoing and Alexander said it "looks positive" that the department will be able to submit a case to the Harvey County District Attorney shortly.
Until then, Alexander did recommend citizens of Sedgwick stay alert and informed of their surroundings and take extra precautions with their vehicles.
"Don't start your vehicle in the morning unless you intend to lock it," Alexander said. "The other thing I would say is be very vigilant and lock your cars, and make it tougher for those people (wanting) to get into those."