Thieves hit northwest Albany neighborhood

ALBANY -- Several residents from the Doublegate subdivision were victims of a series of entering auto thefts that occurred over the weekend.

Charles Gillespie, head of the Doublegate Neighborhood Watch Group, said Monday that he received numerous calls about the break-ins during the weekend from concerned neighbors.

"We had about six or seven break-ins Sunday," he said during a phone interview Monday. "Today we had a man in a silver Ford Ranger that was going along behind the garbage truck and stealing toys and bicycles from the yards."

Gillespie said the man's excuse for his actions was that he claimed he was collecting garbage from abandoned property.

"There is no abandoned property at Doublegate," he said. "There are people living in these houses."

Gillespie said the recent crime streak is unusual for the usually quiet community.

"I think someone's cluing them in," he said of the thieves. "I just don't think they could have known what vehicles had property in them and those that didn't."

According to Capt. Jimmy Sexton of the Dougherty County Police Department, most thieves that break into vehicles are on the watch for vulnerable cars and trucks.

"They are on the lookout for vehicles that are expensive or that might have belongings in them," he said.

According to police reports from the DCPD, four vehicles were broken into on Sunday in the 2200-2300 blocks of Pendleton Street. A $250 camouflage jacket was stolen from a 2001 Toyota pickup at one residence. At another residence, three vehicles were broken into. Two shotguns, two boxes of shotgun shells, a cell phone and approximately $6 in coins were taken from the vehicles.

Sexton said in each of the cases the vehicle was left unlocked in a driveway.

According to reports from the Albany Police Department, a handgun was stolen Sunday evening from a vehicle on Wallington Drive.

Sexton said it is not common for owners to leave their vehicles unlocked, but that practice also leaves the owners vulnerable to becoming victims of theft.

"People need to lock their vehicles," he said. "They also don't need to leave valuables in their vehicle if they can help it, and pay attention to when their car alarms are going off."

Sexton said there have been numerous instances when both owners and passers-by have ignored car alarms in parking lots where a vehicle has been broken into.

Gillespie said he plans to speak with watch members of the Doublegate area about being more vigilant and cautious.