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Thieves Target Cars in Parks

Detectives are investigating an apparent series of credit card thefts from vehicles parked at area parks. Many of the crimes have taken place at Burke Lake Park, but there were others at Wakefield and South Run Recreation Center. Detectives from the West Springfield Police District Criminal Investigation Section are working collaboratively with the Financial Crimes Unit to apprehend suspects on over two dozen cases; with the most recent six taking place at Burke Lake Park since Thanksgiving.

Police believe suspects are observing drivers as they prepare to exercise, then entering the vehicles (both unlocked and locked), and stealing cards from wallets that victims have “hidden” in the car’s console, under a seat, or elsewhere. Suspects then immediately take the cards to stores, particularly the Apple Store, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target and others and fraudulently purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics.

In some cases, since only a card or two were taken from the wallets, people may not realize they’ve been victimized for several days.

Police urge residents to either keep their valuables with them or leave them at home when they exercise. Police are working closely with Fairfax County Park Authority staff on incidents. Staff members have posted flyers to increase the public’s awareness at several area parks.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.