Vehicle prowls on ODT: Ten cars burgled at trailheads; 18 vehicle break-ins in Clallam

PORT ANGELES — Vehicles in parking areas along Olympic Discovery Trail from Sequim to west of Port Angeles have been broken into during a recent surge of daytime prowls, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

Ten vehicle prowls since Aug. 1 have been reported on the Olympic Discovery Trail, including seven between last Thursday and Monday, Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said Wednesday.

“For us, we strongly suspect and believe it’s the work of a single individual or group of individuals doing this in concert,” he said.

Those and other vehicle prowls add up to 18 total vehicle prowls in August in Clallam County, higher than normal, King said, making them almost a daily occurrence this month.

The ODT locations have ranged from the trail access parking on Diamond Point Road east of Sequim to the Olympic Adventure Route trailhead parking area at Milepost 59 on state Highway 112 west of Port Angeles.

Vehicles parked at locations on West Hendrickson Road and Whitefeather Way in Sequim also have been hit.

Both residents and tourists have been victims.

“Quite a few folks are visitors to the area,” King said.

He said similarities in the break-ins include broken passenger-side windows.

The person or persons responsible are using a similar means, or tool, to enter the vehicles, perhaps something they bring with them, King said.

“We’re not finding any artifact causing the forced entry,” King said, such as a rock left on a seat.

“Basically, they have a tool or are using a pretty consistent-type tool to break out these windows.”

In addition, the sequence of reports that authorities are receiving indicate the person or persons may be moving east in the morning to west in the afternoon.

Vehicles with bike racks also were a common target, indicating to the prowler that the occupants may be a good distance from their vehicles, King said.

Items stolen include prescription sunglasses, keys and an iPad, iPod, cellphone, purse and wallet.

“It’s ranged from everything from the registration of a a vehicle to a Garmin GPS unit that’s attached to the windshield to backpacks, anything they can quickly grab in the vehicle,” King said.

King cautioned that storing items in a trunk does not make them less likely to be stolen because most trunks can be opened from inside vehicles.

There also are indications that trunks were broken into.

“Some folks don’t always know everything they had in their car,” King said.

He said forcible entry is atypical of the vast majority of vehicle prowls, about 80 percent of which are accomplished through an unlocked door.

Deputies have increased their patrols and deployed surveillance equipment at parking areas along the ODT.

Suspicious activity should be reported to the Sheriff’s Office by calling 360-417-2259.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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