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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Wrightsville Beach police searching for suspects in string of South Harbor Island car burglaries

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Wrightsville Beach police are searching for suspects after the theft of money from seven cars on South Harbor Island last week.

In what police are calling opportunity crimes, cash was taken from seven cars located near the intersection of Cypress Avenue and Jasmine Place in the early morning of Wednesday, Oct. 14. In each case, the victims had left their cars unlocked, giving the thieves easy access to the vehicle.

While police are not naming suspects, Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Daniel House said his department has had issues with a crew of kids that live on the south end of Wrightsville Beach. While they have no evidence, police suspect this is their work, he said.

“They have been doing this kind of thing for a long time,” House said. “We have no evidence to prove it, but we strongly suspect it is them. It’s just a matter of catching them doing it.”

The thieves mostly took money or gift cards, avoiding items like credit cards that could be traced back to them. In a few instances, they took the cash or items from wallets or purses that were left in the car. In only one instance did the perpetrators take a purse from the vehicle, Wrightsville Beach Police Sgt. Matthew Monroe said.

“This is a huge reminder to keep your doors locked or take everything out of your vehicle,” Monroe said. “Wrightsville Beach is a great place to live. It’s a safe place to live. But it doesn’t take away the opportunity crime.”

The thefts occurred in the early morning, police said. Mostly small denominations of money were taken.

“10s or 20s, here or there,” Monroe said.

The early-morning hours of the thefts shows the importance of alerting police to suspicious activity, especially if people are wandering the streets under the cover of darkness.

“It was someone or a group of people walking through that area,” Monroe said. “If residents see any type of activity out late or in the morning, police need to be called so we can check it out.”

Monroe also said police don’t believe the thefts are connected to the theft of a golf cart from a residential driveway in the 400 block of Causeway Drive on Oct. 7.

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