Wave of car break-ins hits Gig Harbor. Police say don’t confront thieves but call 911

Gig Harbor has experienced a wave of car break-ins that Police Chief Kelly Busey said is unprecedented in his time on the force.

Over the past three weeks, about 40 vehicles have been broken into, Busey said.

“Almost all of these are unlocked cars,” the chief said. “There are a few broken windows and broken locks, but almost always the cars are unlocked.”

The most common items stolen have been purses and handbags, with people leaving them in plain sight in their cars.

“We try to voice this loudly and often: Do not leave valuables in plain sight when in the vehicle,” Busey said. “Almost always when a person breaks into a car, they see what they want before they even open the door. People leave purses, computer bags, valuables just lying on the seat.”

The crimes have been committed by multiple individuals and groups, Busey said.

The Police Department arrested someone June 7 who admitted to committing 11 of the break-ins, police said. They caught the person using a combination of investigative resources, video and tracking of stolen property.

Busey said hot spots for vehicle prowls are the trailheads of the Cushman Trail, both at the south end of 14th Avenue and the north end of Borgen Boulevard.

Busey said to not engage or confront a vehicle prowler, as the person could be armed or dangerous.

“If you see someone breaking into your car call 911 immediately,” Busey said.