Lock your car sign

Police are reminding drivers to lock their cars to cut down on thefts from vehicles, after several were reported recently.

New Castle County Police are warning residents about groups of young people “roving through communities” intent on breaking into or stealing cars.

The department has seen an increase in car thefts and break-ins throughout the county in recent weeks, Master Cpl. Michel Eckerd said.

“Communities from Claymont to Middletown and everywhere in between have been victimized,” Eckerd said.

County police detectives are investigating the thefts, he said.

“Groups as large as 10 to 12 people have been seen roving through communities,” Eckerd said. “These groups will typically use stolen cars during the overnight hours to target the random neighborhoods. Usually, the driver will stay in the car, and the other occupants will get out on foot and begin looking for unlocked vehicles.”

The thieves are taking items left in the unlocked cars, such as change, credit cards, purses and electronic devices. They are also looking for keys that will allow them to steal the vehicle, Eckerd said.

“Patrols have been increased, yet we are still asking members of our community to remain vigilant,” he said. “If you see any suspicious activity, call 911.”

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