Police seeking camera footage following multiple vehicle thefts

A dark colored SUV with a body style similar to a Toyota Highlander was filmed by security cameras in areas of the vehicle thefts on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (Courtesy photo)

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The Winters Police Department is seeking camera footage from local neighborhoods impacted by a string of vehicle thefts that occurred on Sunday, Jan. 23 between 2–4 a.m.

Winters Police Chief John P. Miller said pickup “work” trucks with tools (in sight or easily accessible) were noted as being targeted. A dark-colored SUV with a body style similar to a Toyota Highlander was filmed by security cameras in the vicinity of a few of the incidents. There is currently no suspect information or further vehicle description  available, and all of the thefts are under active investigation.

Residents who have any camera footage they believe could be beneficial to these investigations, or who witnessed any suspicious activity, are asked to call 530-795-4561. Miller said that the thefts occurred across town and there wasn’t a specific neighborhood targeted.

As of Monday, there were up to nine reports that they believe are associated to the thefts of work trucks. Miller said most of the incidents are thefts from unlocked vehicles (and/or toolboxes in the vehicle). He said there was one vehicle that had a window smashed in with tools taken, and one of the reports was for a “work” truck (with keys in vehicle) that was recovered by the Vacaville Police Department on Monday.

“As we have seen over the years, Winters is targeted every few months by outside group(s) since there is a sense of safety and security here and residents leaving vehicles unlocked, keys in vehicles, etc,” said Miller. “Further, truthfully and very unfortunately, when it comes to property crimes in California, there is very little, if any, ramifications even if they are caught, so the best strategy is prevention simply taking valuables out of your vehicle (and/or not leaving them in plain sight) and making sure you lock your vehicle at night.”

Winters PD offered the following safety tips for residents:

  • Park in a well-lit area.
  • Make sure your vehicle doors are locked.
  • Do not leave the keys in the vehicle.
  • Invest in a toolbox with a lock if you keep tools in the back of your vehicle.
  • Engrave your tools with something unique: a phone number, name, email address, etc.
  • Invest in security cameras for your home and be aware of other homes with security cameras in your neighborhood.

Camera registry
Winters PD is looking to add local residents who have security cameras on their premise to their CAPTURE Program voluntary registry.

Miller said signing up for the CAPTURE program provides Winters PD with a confidential registry of privately owned security cameras which assists Winters PD officers and detectives in locating and contacting residents and business owners in the vicinity of where a crime occurred that may have video of the event or associated vehicles or persons.

“It’s important to note it does not give us access info in any way to the cameras, and the information is secure at the Police Department,” Miller said.

Miller said video has proven to be one of the most effective methods for apprehending and convicting subjects who commit crimes of all kinds.

Residents who have video security cameras are encouraged to register their location and capabilities of their cameras with Winters PD. For more information on the CAPTURE Program, or to register a security cameras visit http://www.winterspolice.org/capture/.

Miller stressed the importance of knowing your neighbors and to call in any suspicious activity to Winters PD.

“The base behind a neighborhood watch is neighbors looking out for neighbors,” Miller said. “It’s not turning a blind eye. Call in if you see anything.”

Residents should report suspicious activity, that isn’t an emergency situation, to the Winters PD 24-hour dispatch center at 530-795-4561.

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