Connect with us

Local News

Smash and grab thefts are on the upswing in the state; what can be done to stop them?



Russellville, Arkansas – Authorities are cautioning locals in central Arkansas not to leave valuables in their vehicles.

Residents have been warned by the Dardanelle Police Department to keep a close eye on their possessions.

There have been a few in the Pope and Yell Co. area, claims Joe Paterak, chief of police in Dardanelle.

There is cause to think they are related, according to Paterak.

Smash and grab robberies frequently include out-of-town perpetrators, according to Russellville Police Department Public Information Officer Andrew Reeves.

“A lot of them are groups of people that get together with a purpose and they will hit several locations down the interstate,” said Reeves. “We will see them in Conway, Russellville, and Clarksville.”

According to Reeves, after they have your belongings, they frequently take them right to the neighborhood department shop.

“They will take all of your credit cards, debit cards, and go straight to a department store that sells gift cards,” said Reeves. “They buy a bunch of gift cards and they will ditch the credit cards somewhere else. Now they have your money but nothing that ties them to you. That is very popular and they will hit the department stores within 10 to 20 minutes of stealing your items.”

A smash-and-grab incident occurred at Arkansas Tech University back in April, according to Joshua McMillan, Chief of Public Safety, and investigators are collaborating with nearby law enforcement to identify the perpetrators.

“What they typically look for is going to be property that is unlocked, it is going to have valuables in plain sight, and they are looking for something that is going to be in an area where they are least likely to get caught,” said McMillan. “They will usually target large parking lots like shopping centers where they can stroll through and check door handles.”

Recently, Senator John Boozman of Arkansas enacted legislation to curb the state’s escalating rate of smash-and-grab robberies, specifically to combat handgun theft.

The minimum sentence for robbery is now three years, and the maximum sentence for burglary is now twenty years, thanks to the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act of 2023.

A stolen firearm, according to Reeves, presents a risky circumstance.

“Very rarely do stolen guns show up at the range for just target practice,” said Reeves. “They are not going to risk it for that. They are going to be using it for another crime probably down the road. Whether that is trading them with other criminals or hopefully not using them against somebody.”

He advised locals to always err on the side of caution and never leave anything expensive in their cars, despite the fact that there haven’t been many smash and grab crimes in the region.

“Out of sight, keep it out of sight,” said Reeves. “Don’t let them see it there. The cleaner your car looks from the outside, the less likely it is that it is that they will grab something. Make it look like a rental, like you don’t actually own the car.”

You can conceal your valuables under a jacket or blanket, or better yet, keep them in the trunk of your car, according to McMillan.

The best general rule is to park in a location where a potential thief is most likely to be caught on camera.

Report any thefts to the police in your area as soon as you become aware of them.

Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *