Wilmette has experience a high number of auto burglaries during the past week.
In total, 18 cars were burglarized in the village from Nov. 8 through Nov. 15, with the majority of incidents taking place in two clusters last weekend.
Between the night of Friday, Nov. 9 and the following morning, several vehicles were broken into on Wilmette’s east side. On Saturday night and Sunday morning, cars on the village’s west side were hit.
Wilmette Police Chief Brian King said cars with unlocked doors and those containing small, visible electronic items inside were targeted.
“The common link here is unlocked vehicles” King said. “The vehicles that were not unlocked, whether it was a forced entry or a window smashed out, it appeared to have occurred because when you looked into the vehicle, there was an electronic item or a purse right inside. So the advice is to take your valuables inside your house, lock them in your trunk, and then definitely lock your vehicles overnight.”
One victim reported witnessing a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt in her driveway at 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, King said, but did not think to call police until she later realized her car had been burglarized.
King said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether the thieves were Wilmette residents or from out of town, but related that during the rash of east-side auto burglaries earlier this year that lead to 13 arrests, the offenders were overwhelmingly people who had entered the community at night.
King said police would be stepping up patrols in the effected neighborhoods and encouraged residents to call police if they see suspicious activity in their neighborhood.
Last week’s auto burglaries include the following incidents:
An unknown offender broke a car window and stole a woman’s purse, wallet and cash while the vehicle was parked in a lot near a church preschool located in the 1000 block of Lake Avenue between 11:27 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. on Nov. 9. According to the police report, the woman told police she left her car and entered the church to pick up her daughter from preschool, but when she came back outside, the window was broken and her purse was gone. The woman’s $350 purse reportedly contained a $60 wallet, $250 in cash, numerous credit cards and her Illinois state identification card.
Someone ransacked the interior of a vehicle parked in the 200 block of Maple Avenue sometime between 4 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 1 p.m. on Nov. 9. The car’s owner told police nothing appeared to be missing.
An unknown offender stole a $250 mountain bike from the back hatch of a van parked in the 1400 block of Maple Avenue sometime between 10 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 10 p.m. on Nov. 11. The bike was later recovered by Wilmette police.
A $250 GPS device was reportedly stolen from the glove box of a car parked in the 200 block of Central Parke Avenue sometime between 5 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 3:30 p.m. the following day. The vehicle was parked in a home’s driveway at the time of the burglary.
Someone attempted to burglarize a vehicle parked in the 1500 block of Wilmette Avenue sometime between 4 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 10 a.m. the following morning. The victim told police that someone had put down the center console arm rest and had pulled out a drawer located under the driver’s seat that the victim said he did not even know existed. Nothing was reported stolen.
Two cartons of Marlboro Red Cigarettes and approximated $30 cash was reportedly stolen from two vehicles located in the 1000 block of Isabella Street sometime between 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 1:45 p.m. the next day. Both cars were reportedly ransacked during the burglaries.
$1 in loose change was stolen from a jeep parked in the 1600 block of Wilmette Avenue sometime between 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 8:15 a.m. on Nov. 10. After responding to several nearby auto burglary reports, police searched the area for other victims and noticed a jeep with its doors unlocked and its front passenger seat fully reclined. The owner was unaware that his car had been burglarized.
Someone broke into a van parked in the alley behind the 1600 block of Wilmette Avenue sometimes between 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 8:15 the next day. The owner told police nothing appeared to be missing.
A credit card and approximately $20 was stolen from a car parked in the alley behind the 1600 block of Wilmette Avenue sometimes between 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 8:15 the following day. A victim told police that her husband’s wallet had not been taken from the car, but a credit card and cash were missing. The contents of the vehicle’s glove compartment and center console had been strewn about the car.
A $30 iPod cable and loose change were stolen from a car parked in the driveway of a residence located in the 400 block of Park Avenue sometime between 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 10:30 a.m. the next day. The victim said that when she went out to the car in the morning, she found the vehicle ransacked and smelling of marijuana.
$15 in quarters was stolen from a car parked in the 200 block of Greenleaf Avenue sometime between 10 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 11 a.m. on Nov. 9. The victim told police that when she found the interior of the car ransacked, she initially thought her children had made the mess, but she realized she had been robbed when she could not find a folder containing her registration and insurance card.