Rash of car break-ins reported in Westhampton, Southampton, Easthampton

By MADDIE FABIAN

Staff Writer

Published: 10-19-2023 2:45 PM

Police are urging residents to lock their car doors following a string of recent car break-ins in Westhampton, Southampton and Easthampton.

Just after midnight on Sunday going into Monday, Westhampton saw four car break-ins at one address, along with one other at a different address, according to Police Chief David White.

“The key is for residents to lock their cars,” said White, adding that around $1,000 worth of valuables was taken from an unlocked car.

“The lesson here is that one car was unlocked and stuff was taken out of it,” he said. “And they were seen on video trying another car which was locked, and they just went on their way.”

White said residents should also keep their keys inside the house and install floodlights that turn on where cars are parked.

In addition to Westhampton, similar break-ins have occurred in Southampton in recent days, according to Southampton Police Chief Ian Illingsworth.

The department received a call on Monday about a car break-in on Rattle Hill Road, and earlier this month another break-in was reported on Strong Road.

“Rarely is there damage to the cars,” said Illingsworth. “They’ll go in and take money or anything that can be used for sale and sell it.”

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Illingsworth added that “a lot of times, break-ins don’t get reported.”

In Easthampton, just a quarter mile over the town line from Westhampton, someone broke into a car on Hunter Lane and stole a purse with a credit card inside, according to Police Sgt. Chad Alexander.

Illingsworth said Southampton has seen “consistent car breaks since July.”

“When I say consistent, usually every month we get some rash of car breaks,” he said, adding that the problem isn’t isolated to the local area.

“It’s a current trend that police departments are seeing. … It seems to come in waves; we’ll get an influx, and then it will stop for a while, and then we’ll get another influx, and then it will stop for a while,” Illingsworth said.

White said Westhampton has had similar experiences with recurring cycles of car break-ins.

“Every few years we’ll have this kind of thing where somebody drives around late at night… They’ll go and find unlocked cars, take petty things, and then they disappear into the night,” White said, adding that the perpetrators usually come from Connecticut.

For now, the police departments are investigating home video surveillance and asking that anyone with helpful information contact the police.

White said Westhampton is increasing its late night patrols in hopes of deterring break-ins over the next few weeks.

“Consistently, the cars that are getting entered are cars that are unlocked,” Illingsworth said. “Just remember to lock your doors.”

Maddie Fabian can be reached at mfabian@gazettenet.com.