Vehicle entries are as rampant as they ever have been, especially with the introduction of catalytic converter thefts, key fob remote device hacking, and the rise in opiate consumption and addiction. This month, I’m going to speak about a current investigation in Hamilton regarding vehicle entries and I’ll cover some steps on how to prevent them from happening to you. During the final week of January 2023, multiple motor vehicles were the subject of a rash of entries. Beginning January 26th – cameras captured the same white panel van approaching work style vehicles during the early hours of the morning. The first happened on Alice Street near Kenilworth Avenue. A white panel van was spotted scouting the area and eventually butting up next to the victim’s work vehicle. Two males exited the van and proceeded to smash one of the windows to access the tools inside. They grab what they can and leave within minutes.  Over the next seven days, five more work vehicles fall victim to the same crime by the same men. To date, over $50,000 worth of work tools including name brands like Milwaukee and DeWalt have been stolen leaving the owners unable to complete their jobs and earn money for their families. The white van which these thieves used has since been recovered by Police, however the suspects are still outstanding. Both wore hoodies and ski masks to conceal their identity.

Suspect one is described as a white male, 6 feet tall, wearing dark clothing and a dark jacket with a reflective marking on the back.

Suspect two is also a white male, approximately 6 feet tall and wearing dark clothing.

With assistance from our friends at CHCH news, I have put together a re-enactment video with footage of the suspects which can be viewed on the Hamilton Crime Stoppers YouTube channel and the Hamilton Crime Stoppers website .

Crimes like this show us how easy it is for criminals to “target and act”. Fortunately, there are a few things that we can do to dissuade those who look to gain from our misfortune.

For starters, never leave anything valuable (or valuable looking) resting in plain sight within your vehicle. That just invites them to at least try your door handle. Next poinT, lock your doors! Self explanatory, but we’re all guilty of this from time to time. Additionally, never leave your vehicle running – warm up auto thefts are also on a massive rise. Park your vehicle somewhere in plain sight and invest in cameras if you can. One of the first questions Police ask during theft investigations is, “do you have any camera footage of the incident”. House cameras go a long way in terms of tracking and identifying the thief. Lastly, keep your keys somewhere away from your front door. Technology has come a long way and although meant for good, criminals also utilize tech as a means for easier access. Key fobs can now be easily located and traced – even through your front door! – in a matter of minutes. The thieves will then return later during the night and calmly enter your vehicle without concerns for attention.

I hope you found at least one take away from this article. As always, report suspicious activity to Police, but if that is not an option for you, Crime Stoppers is 100% anonymous and could even earn you reward money!

Until next month, Trevor McKenna, Crime Stoppers Coordinator, 1-800-222-TIPS