Police warnings continue after 33 car burglaries in two days in Ivins

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A recent rash of 33 vehicle burglaries in Ivins involving three juveniles has prompted police to issue a warning to citizens to lock their vehicles – similar to warnings that have gone out in multiple communities across the state.

In the second alert in less than two days, the first issued Wednesday after four vehicles were broken into in Cedar City, the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department issued a reminder to residents to lock their vehicles and remove all valuables from the car.

Read more: Police warn public to lock car, remove valuables after string of thefts

The crime spree in Ivins spanned two days and covered an area of less than a mile across, where 33 vehicles were broken into, Santa Clara-Ivins Police officer Randy Hancey said. Approximately 30 of those vehicles were unlocked at the time of the incident.

In mid-February police began receiving reports of car burglaries in the area and officers spoke with neighbors, who then started discussing the incidents with each other, Hancey said.

Residents also posted notices in church bulletins alerting parishioners to the crimes, and as word got out, police found additional victims who did not initially report the activity.

“Once we started checking with the neighbors, the neighbors got together and alerted each other, and that’s how we found so many of the vehicle burglaries in one certain area,” Hancey said.

Investigators then found that each of the vehicles was parked at residences when the break-ins occurred, and only two or three of those vehicles were locked at the time.

Officers also found that a window was partially rolled down in one of the locked vehicles, allowing the suspects to unlock it by reaching in from the outside.

Officers also found that one of the homes had a surveillance system that included a camera, which provided footage of the suspects that was later used to help police identify them.

“That camera was in the right spot, with a perfect view of the driveway, so we got some pretty good pictures of the suspects, which helped to track them down,” he said.

The suspects removed change, checkbooks, wallets, backpacks and other items that could be grabbed and removed from the car quickly, and that were small enough to be transported easily.

Three juveniles were arrested in connection with the case, and two of the teens live in Ivins, while the third is a resident of St. George, according to a statement released Wednesday by Santa Clara/Ivins Police Chief Robert Flowers.

Flowers added that the suspects were motivated by “the thrill of it, and the ease of breaking into the vehicles.”

These types of cases generally go unsolved, but police were able to make the arrests due to the efforts of officer Jon Ward and Sgt. Jaron Studley, who led the investigation and “followed every lead and developed incriminating evidence,” Flowers said.

“It does not take much time for three juveniles to break into 33 vehicles, especially if they are enjoying the experience,” Flowers said in the statement.

The chief also issued a reminder to the community to make sure to remove all valuables from the vehicle, including guns, wallets, prescription medication and other items that are “easy targets for criminals and hard to resist.”

In all, 33 vehicle burglaries, three residential burglaries and three criminal mischief reports were taken by police. All of the victims have been contacted, and police will return the items taken when possible.

“We got a lot of help from the community, from good citizens, and they really wanted us to catch the guys, and we really wanted to catch them too, so that’s how we got such good leads on this case,” he said.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • PlanetU March 1, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Where are their parents when all this is going on? Find some other activity you brats, sports, music. I certainly see a lot of garages that are full of junk instead of their vehicles.

    • Bowlinggreen123 March 1, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      In about 2 to 3 years they will be visiting them in Jail or at their graveside.

  • justsaying March 2, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Release the parents names.

  • Caveat_Emptor March 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

    This is refreshingly different from the typical vehicle burglary along the Wasatch Front, where the bad guys smash a side window (because the car doors were locked) steal the same lame stuff, then head off to their neighborhood drug dealer for an exchange.

    It is not clear if they vandalized the cars they stole from, or simply accessed an unlocked car.

  • LunchboxHero March 2, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    “…the thrill of it, and the ease of breaking into the vehicles.” <– It's thrilling to open an unlocked car door? Alrighty then.

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