Stallings police say they have a suspect in the break-ins of 70 cars in their town.
But many victims haven't called police to report the missing GPS systems, golf clubs, satellite radios, iPods and cell phones that police have confiscated.
“If everybody who was a victim from this guy reported him, I'd have 70 charges on him. Right now we're looking at six,” said Stallings Detective Sgt. Mike Musselwhite.
Musselwhite has delivered 150 letters to mailboxes in Stallings subdivisions that the police believe were hit, asking victims to come forward. Last week, he had received only two responses.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Police were tipped off to a Union County residence, where they found about 30 items they believe were stolen from cars. They also seized items from pawn shops in Monroe and Charlotte.
No arrests have been made because some suspects are continuing to provide information about crimes in other jurisdictions, including Indian Trail, Musselwhite said.
One suspect said his group stole items from unlocked cars in Emerald Lake, Stevens Mill, Fairfield Plantation, Callonwood, Shannamara, The Divide, Hunley Ridge and Buckingham subdivisions between late April and early August, Musselwhite said. Some homeowners, he said, may have thought they lost items that actually were stolen. Others may not have bothered to call police.
“We have a good bit of recovered property,” he said. “(If it's not claimed), it will be destroyed or sold at public auction.”
Car break-ins are on the rise, Musselwhite said. He suggested keeping vehicles locked and valuables out of the car, although thieves are less likely to look in trunks.