WHITE, S.D. (KELO) — The town of White, South Dakota is on edge following a recent string of thefts.
Over the last week, someone has gone into at least five cars and trucks. Four vehicles had items stolen.
In the fifth one, the person left behind a clue that could lead to an arrest.
People who live in White are in disbelief.
“It just doesn’t happen here,” White resident Clarence Simmons said. “I mean, we live in a small town, we’ve got small town amenities, but we just don’t have the crime either.”
Recently, someone has been going in unlocked cars and taking things.
“These are crimes of opportunity. People are leaving things unlocked,” Murfield said. “We’re not seeing broken windows or any sort of unlock kits. Our victims are admitting their vehicles are unlocked.”
The first thefts included credit cards and IDs.
“It escalated throughout out the week though and we actually determined we had two firearms stolen out of a vehicle,” Murfield said.
In one case, the person left behind a vape pen that could have DNA evidence. Authorities are confident they’ll make an arrest.
“This is just prolonging the inevitable at this point in time. Me having to send this into the state health lab. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when I am going to catch them,” Murfield said.
Laurel Hudgens has lived in white for 13 years.
“I was shocked for the simple reason that I just don’t lock up much due to the fact that it’s White,” she said. “It’s less than 400 people. It’s never really had an issue before with them.”
“We can’t stress enough. Lock your doors. Take anything of value inside. Firearms, purses, anything that you deem valuable. Bring it inside with you at night and make sure that car is locked,” Murfield said.
People in town are listening to that advice and changing their habits.
“We’re getting a lock for our shed. We lock all our trucks up at night,” Hudgens said.
“Our doors now are going to be locked. We never have, because your neighbors watch out for you, but now there are locks going on the doors,” Simmons said.
Police also obtained shoe prints in the mud and were able to determine a shoe size and brand of shoe. They are also in the process of tracking the credit cards that were stolen, as there have been some used to buy items online.
Lock your car and don’t leave valuables inside: it’s also a message the Sioux Falls police department has been echoing for months.
According to the Sioux Falls Crime Map, police have received 38 reports of vehicle break-ins in just the past week. Some of the crimes are more dangerous than others.
“We’ve had people that are specifically looking for guns in unlocked cars. And then they’re later on use in crimes,” Sioux Falls Police officer Sam Clemens said.
Police say even if a car is locked thieves can still break in. You should always bring your valuables inside.