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Protecting citizens from being theft victims

Recent break-ins and thefts leave many Carlisle residents uneasy.

Since November 2012, the Carlisle Police Department has had three residential burglaries, 10 vehicle break-ins, three breaking or entering reports as well as 13 other thefts excluding shoplifting cases and gas drive offs, according to Carlisle Police Chief Eric Frank. Some of the items taken during the theft and vehicle break-in cases were money, billfolds, credit and debit cards, guns, alcohol, prescription drugs, a bicycle, copper wire, metal pipes, old electric motors, and iPod and a table computer. In the residential burglaries guns, prescription medications, a television, a laptop computer, jewelry, a game system and DVDs were taken.

“The vast majority of what we deal with is breaking or entering and theft of property,” Frank said.

Frank said the police department arrested Murphy Jackson, 24, of Carlisle for some of the thefts. While not all of these cases are connected, Frank said the vehicle break-ins and two of the breaking or entering cases were most definitely connected. He said the department was able to implicate Jackson and charge him on eight of the vehicle break-ins and two of the breaking or entering cases.

“Murphy Jackson has been arrested on four different occasions,” Frank said. “… and charged with multiple counts of breaking or entering, misdemeanor theft of property, and one count of felony theft of property. He was also charged with fleeing after leading officer Robert Wakefield on a foot chase on March 6.”

According to Frank, Torrence Shelton, 52, of North Little Rock was also arrested on Nov. 12, 2012, on the charges of criminal trespass and theft of property. He said they have obtained an arrest warrant on another individual for felony theft of property, but the unidentified female has not yet been located or served.

Frank also said the department has identified suspects in five of the other cases, two of which were arrested and in the others, the victim did not want to prosecute.

While the department has cleared several of the incidents and arrested and/or obtained warrants for the suspects, Frank said they department continues to share information with other agencies and has tried to have video enhanced in some of the other cases.

Unlocked vehicles, carports and open garages were targets for the recent theft, according to Frank. He suggests residents not leave anything of value in their cars, to lock their homes and vehicles and to make your home look occupied at all times.

“To protect themselves against vehicle break-ins, people need to keep their car doors locked, and carry their keys and valuables inside with them at night,” Frank said. ” That alone would have prevented the majority of these crimes from occurring.”

“One of the important things is to make your home look occupied even when you’re away. In one of the burglaries, the resident was temporarily staying in a nursing home. In another, the resident was living with his fiancé in another town, and his apartment had been unoccupied for several weeks.”

Other tips Frank offered residents to protect themselves and their homes were:

•Don’t walk or jog alone.

•When out at night, walk with a friend.

•Carry only the money or credit/ATM card(s) you’ll need.

•If you carry a purse, carry it close to your body, preferably in front.

•Don’t allow strangers into your home. If they say they need help, keep the door locked and call the police for them.

•Keep outdoor lights on at night.

•Keep doors and windows locked.

•Never give information to unknown callers.

•Write down license numbers of suspicious vehicles.

•Always lock your car doors and take keys with you when you leave your car.

•Make sure you have your key out and ready as you approach your car door.

•Try to park in well-lit, well-traveled areas in view of other people.

•Walk assertively and with confidence.

•Don’t weigh yourself down with too many packages.

•If someone tries to rob you, give up your property. It is not worth your life or serious injury.

•Do everything you can to keep a stranger from getting into your car, or to keep someone from forcing you into their car.

If a person does become a victim or theft there are ways to better the odds of having the property recovered according to Frank. He said residents should record serial numbers of valuables or apply an owner-applied number, such as a driver’s license number, for items that do not have serial numbers.

“Digital cameras make the process very easy, ” Franks said. “We recommend residents take a good overall photo of an item of property followed by a clear close-up photo of the serial number. Once a resident has finished photographing all of his/her property, take the memory card out of the camera and store it in a safe location such as a safe deposit box, or upload copies of the photos to an off-site/online backup service such as Carbonite or Mozy. Having serial numbers available does increase the likelihood of stolen property being recovered.”

Frank said in addition, this year the General Assembly passed legislation requiring all pawn brokers to electronically report all property that is purchase or taken in pawn.

“Just recently, we were able to recover a firearm from a pawn shop and identify the thief thanks to the owner having recorded the serial number,” Frank said.

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