Undersheriff: Recent rash of thefts, keep cars locked
Within the last week and a half, law enforcement in Stillwater County has recovered four stolen vehicles, three stolen trailers, and three sets of stolen plates in six separate incidents.
One of these incidents involved a pursuit.
While all of these were stolen out of Billings, I want to remind everyone how important it is to take some precautions.
This time of year is particularly inviting to vehicle thieves. Cold weather causes people to leave their vehicles running and unattended. Thieves look for these opportunities at both residences and places of business. If you choose to leave your vehicle running, then carry an extra key and lock the doors. They are less likely to take a vehicle that they have to gain access to. And if you do shut your vehicle off, remember to take the keys.
Parked trailers are also an easy target. Putting a trailer lock on the hitch does not guarantee that it will not be taken, but again, making a thief work is a deterrent.
Vehicle plates are being taken and put on stolen vehicles that are similar in make and model. In some instances, the plates from the stolen vehicle are put on the vehicle of the unsuspecting victim. This can cause a totally innocent person to be stopped for a stolen vehicle, because the original plates are still in the system as being stolen. If you are like me, you have no idea what your plate number is. I would encourage you to take note of it however, and check it once in a while. This is especially important after a trip to Billings, as most of the plates have been stolen there.
Also, pay attention to vehicles and people in your area that seem like they are out of place. Take note of a plate number and vehicle description. Most of the time the people and vehicles are legitimate, but the information could be invaluable in the event that a crime is committed.
Stillwater County Undersheriff Chip Kem