A wave of thefts washed over Havre on Tuesday, from 13th Street north to the downtown area.
According to the Havre Police Department, seven thefts were reported from vehicles around Havre. Of those, six of the vehicles were unlocked.
"In the vehicle with the door locked, the suspects gained entry by breaking a side window to steal a gun (which could be seen from the outside), " a press release from Chief Kirk Fitch said. "Havre area residents are encouraged to ensure all doors and windows are locked at night (on both cars and houses) and valuables are stored inside your house at night or cars are parked in garages. "
Assistant Chief Gabe Matosich said this morning that the department believes these crimes were committed by the same thieves who have been doing the same routine for months.
The police department also released information on the increased prevalence of thefts, why they occur and how to prevent them.
"The popularity of radar detectors, expensive stereo equipment, laptop computers, and cellular phones appear to encourage car prowlers, " the release said. "Any vehicle with a visible cellular phone, radar detector, visible power cord or mount, briefcase, purse, gym bag or other valuables left in sight may be a target. "
The department recommends hiding valuables, locking car doors, car alarms, additional outdoor night-time lighting, documenting serial numbers or "marking items with an Operation Identification number available at no charge from the police department. "
But mostly they encourage vigilance and calling 911 when seeing suspicious activity.
"Report suspicious activity while it is happening. This could save you or your neighbor from being victimized, " the release said. "Call 9-1-1 and stay on the line if you see or hear something that seems unusual or suspicious. Try to get a description of the suspects and their vehicle, and do not confront suspects. Don't think you are bothering the police by calling them to report suspicious activity. It's their job to detect and apprehend criminals, and they need your help because they can't be in everyone's neighborhood 24 hours a day. If your suspicions prove to be unfounded, you shouldn't feel embarrassed. The police prefer that you call them so they can investigate that suspicious activity. It is more desirable to be mistaken than to be a victim! " the release said.
"The department continues to aggressively investigate these thefts and encourages anyone seeing suspicious activity, especially late at night, to call 911 and report it. "