Matthew L. Taylor
Police arrested a young man before dawn Friday and charged him with stealing items out of cars in the southeast part of North Platte.
Around 5 a.m., an officer went to the 1400 block of East F to investigate a reported theft from a vehicle.
Police spokesman John Deal said the resident went outside to the driveway to start the vehicle and let it warm up. And, when they came back outside to leave, they noticed items missing, including a GPS.
They checked another vehicle in the driveway, and found items missing from it, too.
After hearing the complaint, police checked the area. Deal said a short time later, an officer saw a man dressed in black, carrying a black bag, run across an alley near the intersection of Philip and Poplar. Police closed in and found the man, Matthew Taylor, 18, hiding in a back yard.
The bag he was carrying had a GPS that belonged to the victim.
Taylor was charged with felony theft. He has two prior theft convictions.
Deal said the investigation is ongoing.
Police remind residents to lock their cars and other property and report incidents of suspicious activity to law enforcement.
Run of thefts
Thefts of items from cars plus random burglaries of businesses became relatively common in late November in North Platte, when nearly 70 were reported during a 10-day period.
The pace slowed sharply in December, but similar theft are still occurring.
Most stolen items were cash, MP3 players, wallets and other relatively small valuables, taken from unlocked cars. Items were even stolen from cars that were parked in garages.
At the start of the outbreak, 30-some thefts and burglaries were reported Nov. 15-19. Nearly 40 more were reported from Nov. 19-26.
From Nov. 26-Dec. 3, the pace slowed to 14 thefts and burglaries.
Police caught a key suspect in the early morning darkness on Dec. 20, when Dustin Titus, 22, was found in a small camper parked on Edna Ct. in the southwest part of town.
Titus was charged with trespassing and possession of burglary tools. He was caught by an officer on bike patrol at 1:15 a.m. who was looking for suspects after recent thefts in that area, police spokesman Rodney Brown said.
Brown said the patrol officer saw Titus run across Dixie on foot and into a small camper parked in the 3500 block of Edna Court. The camper contained burglary tools.
As the number of thefts slowly decreased, Brown credited heightened awareness and a proactive community.
“It's a recipe for prevention,” he said.