Motor vehicle burglaries have more than doubled in the last month, according to Portales Police Department personnel.
Portales Police Chief Doug Jones and Lt. Pat Gallegos said there have been 33 auto burglaries in Portales since October, which is one third of the 104 burglaries for the whole year so far.
“No arrests have been made but a vigorous investigation is continuing,” Jones said. “We would like the citizens of Portales to be on increased alert about these burglaries and ask that they not leave their valuables in their vehicles.”
Jones declined to comment on whether there are any suspects or leads so far.
One victim of auto burglary was Eastern New Mexico University senior Chris Moller, who lives on North Houston Street.
Moller said he was due to give a presentation at 9 a.m. Monday morning, so waking to find his passenger-side window smashed was not only a financial inconvenience but a personal one, as well.
“The dog didn’t bark and I didn’t hear anything,” he said. “I don’t know what they were thinking, maybe that there was a laptop in my bag or something.”
Moller’s backpack was stolen from his 2008 Kia Rio and contained about $450 worth of school books and supplies, including a $150 calculator the math major used for classes.
Moller said the situation had additional poor timing because it came within two weeks of his fiancé’s heart surgery for arrhythmia.
“At first, I was mad at myself for leaving my backpack in the car, but then I realized it didn’t do me any good to be mad at myself,” he said. “I should be able to feel that my belongings are safe within my locked car in my driveway.”
Jones said half the vehicles robbed have been unlocked and most have had valuables left in them from purses and wallets with cash and credit cards to laptops and cameras.
He said in situations where cars have been locked, burglars have smashed vehicle windows to get to valuables, which are visible.
“We want to remind people to not leave valuables in their cars,” Jones said.
“Burglaries usually go up during the holidays and we expect this to continue until we catch these guys or until people better secure their belongings,” Gallegos added.
Moller said along with the stolen items, he spent $300 to replace his car window.
“The fact that someone feels the need to do that to get by or for thrills or whatever the case is sad,” he said.