Police chief urges residents to lock up vehicles

Portales Police Department Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry once again restated the need for Portales residents to lock their car doors after four vehicles were broken into the night of Oct. 4, all of which were within a few blocks of one another.

“Almost all of our vehicle burglaries have been unlocked vehicle burglaries,” Berry said. “If in fact, the people we have leads on are arrested, more people will come along and make it happen again.”

Berry said most of the vehicle burglars walk down streets, trying car door handles until they have success.

“The two things that are really going to be a catalyst are putting something valuable within view, then unlocking your vehicles,” Berry said.

Local resident Kelly Cirioni, whose wallet was stolen the night of Oct. 4, said she was thankful it was just her wallet and the thief didn’t try to come in her house.

“It’s a very uneasy feeling,” Cirioni said. “I got in the truck and my middle console was open like they were rifling around. It was an extreme violation of my personal space.”

Cirioni said her debit card was charged three times the night after her wallet was stolen.

She said she and her husband, Justin, are now taking more precaution with their house and vehicles by putting up motion censor lights, making sure nothing is left out and double and triple checking that their car is locked.

“It’s military housing, so you kind of have a false sense of security,” Cirioni said. “Even with the truck unlocked, I felt safe with other military people around.”

Berry said local residents can greatly decrease vehicle thefts simply by just locking their cars.

“Back when our burglaries were spiking a few months back, we tried getting the word out to people to lock your doors, especially if you want to leave something of value in there,” Berry said.