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Numerous vehicle break-ins were reported in the area surrounding Cooper Road last Thursday morning.

Byron Stival, criminal investigative division lieutenant with the Bella Vista Police Department, said that 22 cars were broken into, with valuables taken from several of them, but the thieves did not steal any vehicles, including one that had the keys in it.

"They ended up saturating the area," he said.

Stival said footage from a resident's home security system shows suspects driving down to the end of a cul-de-sac, at which point three people exited the vehicle and began walking down the street and checking out cars.

They headed to Dogwood Drive and Nantucket Drive afterward, he said.

The earliest call came in at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Stival said, though most calls were received around 8. Footage shows the thieves active at 3:57 a.m., he said.

Some property has been recovered after the thieves ditched it, Stival said, and the department has processed it and returned it to the victims.

Footage the department has seen lacks the resolution to identify the suspects or their vehicle, he said, but he has been able to identify walking patterns with it.

The department is following up on leads, including fingerprints and DNA evidence that have been submitted to a crime lab, Stival explained, and he encouraged anyone with additional footage or information to contact the Bella Vista Police Department at 479-855-3771.

He also encouraged residents to lock their vehicle doors and bring valuables and firearms inside.

This particular group only hit unlocked cars, Stival said, and it's unlikely any thief would break a car window and make noise unless they saw something worth taking in the car.

Rachel Vanderpool, who lives on Pease Drive, said she was getting ready to head to the University of Arkansas where she's studying psychology when she saw police on her street.

"I walked out and there was like 30 cop cars," she said.

They asked her to check her car and, sure enough, someone had gone through it, she said. It was a mess inside, she said, and she didn't think anything was missing initially.

"Stuff was everywhere in my car," Vanderpool said. "I took a closer look and realized my purse and wallet were stolen."

She wasn't particularly upset at first, she said, but Thursday night she began to worry that it could happen again.

"Honestly, I have gone through a million different emotions," Vanderpool said. "Why would someone think that is OK? It blows my mind that people would do that."

Break-ins and burglaries have increased recently in Bella Vista. So far, according to the police department's dispatch log, there have been 30 breaking and enterings between Jan. 1 and Thursday, Feb. 7, an average of 0.789 per day.

Last year saw 40 breaking and enterings total, an average of 0.109 per day.

Burglaries are closer to the normal rate, with 11 occurring between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, or 0.289 per day compared to 61 total for last year, averaging at 0.167 per day.

From Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2018, the dispatch log showed 281 breaking and enterings -- an average of 0.153 per day -- and 280 burglaries.

Stival said he isn't sure at this point if Thursday morning's operation is related to any of the other robberies or breaking and enterings that have occurred recently, and there isn't a clear answer for why burglaries and break-ins seem to be on the rise right now, though police work to deter criminal activity.

"It's hard to say what causes someone to go into a certain city ... and commit these crimes," he said.

General News on 02/13/2019

Print Headline: Twenty-two cars broken into in one night

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