CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Police are looking for car thieves that hit two Chesterfield County communities stealing things from cars and even stealing some vehicles.
Surveillance video from early Tuesday morning showed thieves running off after tripping a car alarm at the Meadowbrook Apartments in Chesterfield.
It was one part of a much larger targeting of over 25 cars in the complex where thieves broke the windows of 22 cars to gain entry.
Once inside the cars, they stole what they could, including a handgun.
"It really is unusual to see people going in breaking windows," Chesterfield County Police Maj. Mike Louth said. "Common sense tells you when you break a window, there's going to be a loud noise or a pop or something that people are going to hear."
In the Bon Air community, more than a dozen cars were broken into last weekend. Police said the majority of the cars were unlocked and four were eventually stolen.
"It's just horrible. Like, it's so violating I was literally 20 feet away," victim Dean Eliades, who woke up to discover the crime, said. "When I got up, the car flew out of the driveway and I saw a masked man driving my car out of the out of the neighborhood."
Eliades said his car was eventually left down the street, but the thieves made off with his wife's car.
"I just finished paying it off," victim Sarah White said. "We're just doing what we can. I'm working through insurance, but it's not an easy process."
Dawn Boehm, whose car was also stolen, called the whole situation disheartening.
"Be respectful of other people's things," she said. "One day, this could be you could be your mom or dad, that is happening to and they've worked hard."
The neighbors also expressed some frustration with the police response to the weekend's thefts and prior break-ins.
"I've been calling for updates to see what's going on and I understand it's not easy to find a vehicle that's been stolen, but, like, I mean, I'm mad. This is something I worked hard for," White said.
Louth said the department prides itself on being communicative and even if people don't hear from them doesn't mean they're not working on the case, they just might not have any update. He asked people with concerns to call.
"Let us know," he said. "If we're not meeting what the community expectation is, we're going to do everything we can to correct that."
Police said they did not believe the car crimes in the two communities were related.
Investigators have released descriptions of the people suspected in the Meadowbrook crimes and recovered three of the cars from Bon Air crimes. They’ve also released photos of someone using several cards that were stolen from Bon Air and driving away in a car that was not one of the ones stolen from that neighborhood.
Louth said Chesterfield Police would increase patrols in the neighborhoods and work to educate residents to not leave cars unlocked or valuables inside.
"If it's important enough to you that you don't want it stolen, take it out of the car," he said.
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