West Branch residents: time to lock up after 40 car burglaries in one night

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WEST BRANCH, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- West Branch Police are looking for a group of people they say were involved in 40 vehicle burglaries last weekend.

In two cases, the people involved stole cars. People were surprised to hear 40 cars were burglarized in just one night.

"It's kind of shocking. I've lived in this town for all my life and never had any problem like that before," said Ted Tuttle of West Branch.

Police said almost all the cars were unlocked.

"It is really frustrating even if you didn't lose anything out of your car. When you see your personal contents thrown on the floor, people felt very violated," said Mike Horrihan, the police chief in West Branch.

The thieves checked glove compartments, cup holders, and other open areas in the cars. Police Chief Mike Horrihan said they are working with other agencies to find the culprits.

{Mike Horrihan West Branch Police Chief 12:00:58-05} <"We believe the people that were involved in our situation were involved in similar situations in Iowa City," said Chief Horrihan.

Still, some residents are concerned.

"This is getting pretty scary really," said Tuttle, "We're so close to the interstate that someone can jump off, do something and then be gone within minutes."

Tuttle said it's hard breaking old habits.

"All your life, you basically throw the keys on the floor or leave them in the ignition and you don't even think about it," said Tuttle.

Tuttle and fellow resident James Thalken are thinking about upping their house security.

"I think the next step is I'll probably put in a video surveillance system," said Thalken.

Thalken's daughter was a victim of a car burglary in Solon.

"When she got home, she didn't even think about it and went to get her cell phone the next morning and it was gone," said Thalken.

"It's going to be tough. So many people are used to doing it that way. It's going to be tough changing their system of how to do things," said Tuttle.

The police chief says between four and 10 people went through 40 cars and stole two others. Police caught two people involved in the West Branch thefts, but they think there could be more suspects.

Read the original version of this article at www.kcrg.com.