The Newton Police Department was able to recover Thursday a stolen vehicle in the lot used by Chong’s restaurant on N. Main Street — one of several cars recovered following a recent rash of car burglaries and thefts.

Thursday’s recovery, however, was a bit different. The car was vandalized after being stolen.

"This time the car was vandalized and the tires were slashed," said police Lt. Scott Powell.

Powell told The Kansan there has been a rash of car burglaries and car thefts in Newton and that every car hit had one thing in common: They were unlocked when burglaries occurred.

And, if the keys have been in the car, the car is stolen and driven to another location in town before being dropped off.

"We have recovered all the vehicles. Someone will steal them and drive them across town and leave them. This is the first one they have damaged," Powell said.

Powell and the Newton Police Department are encouraging Newton residents to lock their cars and take their keys with them.

"Every single one has been unlocked. Every stolen car has been unlocked with the keys in them," Powell said. "It seems like every year we get a rash of these. We can’t predict when they are coming. ... The moral of the story is lock your car year round and you probably won’t be targeted."