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Rash of vehicle break-ins reported along Dogwood Drive

CONYERS — Conyers police are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins that have occurred in the commercial district along Dogwood Drive.

Conyers Police Department Officer Kim Lucas said more than 15 break-ins have been reported since Jan. 5. The suspects appear to be targeting Ford trucks and SUVs that were manufactured in the early- to mid-2000s.

“There are 15 that have been reported that seem to be the same,” Lucas said.

She said the thieves will use a tool to pry open or pop open the lock. The interesting thing about this method of breaking into a vehicle, she said, is that the victims may not realize that their car has been broken into until they are some ways down the road and discover that a bag or a navigation system is missing.

“Sometimes it’s just not obvious if they use a key fob to unlock their doors,” Lucas said.

She said the break-ins have been reported at restaurants and stores just off Interstate 20, such as Cracker Barrel, Chili’s and Folks. The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office responded to a break-in on Jan. 20 at Golden Corral restaurant, Lucas said.

The most recent break-ins were reported on Jan. 21 at The Home Depot and Carmike Cinemas. “Typically with the restaurants, we’re seeing the break-ins occur around lunchtime where there is a lot of heavy traffic, a lot of customers, people in and out,” Lucas said.

She said some of the thefts have occurred in the afternoon and early evening, such as at the movie theater on Dogwood Drive.

“They seem to use the same method of entry and are occurring in the same vicinity, so we have increased patrols in the area,” Lucas said.

In the meantime, the CPD stresses that drivers should not leave anything of value inside their vehicles, even if they are hidden under a seat or in a console.

“The thieves can break into the vehicles so quickly that they have time to look around,” Lucas said.

Another tool that the public can take advantage of is to record serial numbers and upload images for phones, electronics and other valuables at www.reportit.leadsonline.com, a free, secure online service.

The ReportIt service is part of LeadsOnline, the online system that works with police across the country to track and recover stolen property. The Conyers Police Department has used LeadsOnline since 2012 to help track and recover items such as jewelry, equipment, electronics, computers, cameras, designer clothing and other collectibles.

She said the Conyers Police Department has identified a vehicle that is believed to be used by the thieves and was caught on surveillance video from Cracker Barrel. The suspect vehicle is a silver four-door sedan, possibly a BMW.

“We urge people to call 911 if they see anything suspicious, and if anyone has any information about these thefts, please contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or at crimestopersatlanta.org”