• Rob Hornberger

Car, shed break-ins 'crimes of opportunity,' police say

Plans to set up Neighbourhood Watch program in hard-hit south Kingsville area gain traction

Tina Mallott, of Prospect Street, says she hopes to establish a Neighborhood Watch program in her area after a recent string of break-ins, including the theft of gaming equipment from her backyard shed.

KINGSVILLE — The OPP are investigating a rash of break-ins and thefts last week in south Kingsville which saw credit and debit cards, cash, a bicycle, electronics and personal identification taken.

Const. Steve Duguay said that so far, six or seven victims have been identified along Lansdowne Avenue and Prospect Street.

However, those figures could go higher.

One Prospect Street resident, Wil Aho, said he was told by an investigating officer the total number of victims was close to 40.

Another victim, Tina Malott, said she was speaking with an investigating officer earlier Saturday morning when she heard the officer’s radio “going off” with multiple reports of more break-ins.

“Obviously it’s big because everybody was coming out and giving reports and saying my (vehicle) ownership is gone, my registration has gone … gift cards, a lot of stuff,” she said.

Malott said gaming equipment was taken from a “man cave” shed in her backyard.

Duguay said almost all of the thefts were from unlocked cars and sheds. He called the thefts “crimes of opportunity” where doors to sheds and cars are tested, then broken into if the doors are unlocked.

Malott said it also appears some of the stolen goods were abandoned apparently when more lucrative items were discovered and taken.

She said she found a protective case for a cellphone on her property.

“I was upset, now I’m angry. I just want to help the community. Something has to be done. I can’t sit back and do nothing.”

Her neighbour, Nicole Nicholson, also had a children’s bike stolen, but it was later recovered in front of a nearby Lansdowne Avenue home.

“We worked hard last Easter to buy bikes for the kids and when my son’s bike was taken, my heart just sank,” Nicholson said.

She said she and her husband also lost a small amount of cash, gift cards and a GST cheque from an unlocked car.

Nicholson said a security camera connected to her doorbell was disabled with a piece of plastic.

Aho said he recently had a discussion with his girlfriend, Sarah Seguin, about installing a security camera.

“I was saying we don’t need one, they’re expensive. There is never any crime down here … and not even a week later, we’re robbed.”

“I think we’ll be getting one by next week for sure.”

He said Seguin lost her car insurance, ownership and licence as well as three chargers.

Malott said she has spoken with the Kingsville OPP detachment about setting up a Neighbourhood Watch program.

“I was upset, now I’m angry,” Malott said.

“I just want to help the community. Something has to be done. I can’t sit back and do nothing.”

Malott said her plan to set up a Neighbourhood Watch program has received widespread support on Facebook and not just from her neighbours. She said other areas of Kingsville are eager to start similar programs.

Duguay said the break-ins Saturday morning point out the importance of locking doors.

"Lock it or Lose it" isn't just a catchy slogan, it is a crime prevention measure that is proven to be very effective against opportunistic thieves,” he said in an OPP news release Wednesday.

Police are also asking residents along Lansdowne and Prospect to help in the investigation by reviewing security camera footage.

“We have no identification of our suspect so far,” Duguay said. “We have no person of interest as of yet.”

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