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Police vehicles sit in the basement garage on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, at the Cheyenne Police Department in downtown Cheyenne. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – With an uptick in car break-ins and car thefts, the Cheyenne Police Department is reminding residents and visitors coming to town for CFD to “lock it or lose it” when it comes to leaving valuables in the car.

While a number of vehicles in gym parking lots have been broken into in recent weeks, CPD spokeswoman Alex Farkas said in an email to the WTE, “Vehicle burglaries are not isolated to a specific area in Cheyenne. Residents should always exercise caution and secure valuables any time their vehicle is left unattended.”

According to Farkas, both property thefts from vehicles and vehicle thefts have increased this year, with 192 property theft cases this year, compared to 175 in 2020 and 130 in 2019, and 178 vehicle theft cases, compared to 95 in 2020 and 89 in 2019.

Even if you’re just stopping at the gym for a quick workout, you should make sure all valuables are removed from the vehicle, or at least tucked away, out of plain sight. You should also confirm that your car is locked and never leave the car running while you’re not in it, given the uptick in car thefts, as well.

“Theft is a crime of opportunity – thieves will target valuable items left exposed and unattended in a vehicle,” Farkas said. “The average burglar simply checks for unlocked car door handles, spends less than a minute inside the vehicle, and always checks the glove box, door panels and center console first. Usually, electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops are targets, as well as purses, wallets, weapons and car keys.”

Attendees at Cheyenne Frontier Days should be cautious with leaving their belongings in the car and should be aware of CFD’s new clear bag policy before grabbing their parking spot. Guests will be asked to take any prohibited items back to their car or to dispose of them before entering the park.

“It is important for citizens to remain vigilant, especially during large events like Cheyenne Frontier Days,” Farkas said. “These crimes are preventable and often result in suspects engaging in other criminal activity with a stolen vehicle or property. Officers encourage citizens to report any and all suspicious activity. Please call the Cheyenne Police Department dispatch center with tips at 307-637-6525.”

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter at @MargaretMAustin.

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