Thursday, January 30, 2003

Purses being stolen outside day cares

17 taken recently in Butler Co.

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A warning to suburban moms: Don't leave your purse in plain sight as you dash into a day-care center - not even for a minute, not even in a locked car.

Day-care operators are again seeing a surge in purse thefts from unattended cars in their parking lots - 17 in the past couple weeks throughout Butler County, Sgt. Thomas E. Kilgour, Hamilton police spokesman, said Wednesday. He says police in nearby communities also have been seeing a rash of similar incidents.

A year ago, police in West Chester Township, Forest Park, Mason and Sharonville said they were investigating more than 40 such cases.

This year, one of the hardest-hit locations has been the Ross Avenue Christian Day Care Center in Hamilton. On Monday, the center sent a letter home with children warning of four purses stolen from unlocked cars in just a week.

"Whomever is doing this is very quick and does not care that it is daylight," the letter says. "All they know is they see someone get out of their car, check that it is unlocked, and grab the purse and go."

The letter advises parents to take preventive steps, such as taking valuables with them. "At least make sure that your car is locked and not left running!" the letter urges.

Middletown Police Detective Tom Lawson said locking the car isn't enough of a deterrent to a determined thief.

Lawson said he thinks it's possible that one person could be responsible for many of these crimes.

"I believe it's somebody who's sitting, watching day cares, waiting for the right moment and the right car," he said.


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