“This is a significant problem,” said Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.
He says last winter, the city saw 12 stolen cars in one morning alone. And it’s not just happening in The Brass City.
“There’s a lot of criminals out there — people with criminal intent that understand that there are many opportunities at that hour,” Deputy Chief Spagnolo said. “They’ll head out, target certain neighborhoods and steal several cars that are left unattended and running and unlocked.”
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Waterbury Police are trying to get proactive before the really cold weather — and the thieves — strike. They’ve released a couple of videos on social media driving home the message to people to protect their cars with reminders to never leave cars running with the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked.
“People understandably want to warm their cars up before leaving,” Spagnolo said. “However, people tend not to take the precautions necessary to protect themselves from becoming victims of a crime such as a stolen motor vehicle.”
One victim, who did not want to be identified, told News 8, “It happened to me two years ago. Never again,” he said.
Deputy Chief Spagnolo says the Waterbury Police Department have been able to locate many of the stolen vehicles. You might be surprised to find out who some of the thieves in the past turned out to be.
“A lot of times we determine that these cars are taken just out of convenience — kids on their way to school,” he said. “They see the car running. It’s enticing. They jump into it.”
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Deputy Chief Spagnolo hopes this won’t be a problem again.
“We’re doing our best to get ahead of it,” he said.
That’s why his department released those videos on social media.
“I think it’s important to get the message out,” he said. “I think one of our missions at the Waterbury Police Department is not only to protect but to educate….to work with people to help them prevent crime from occurring.”