SPOKANE, Wash – Spring officially begins Wednesday, and a lot of people have been taking advantage of the recent warm weather by heading out to area trails.
But so have criminals.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says there have been 20 reports of car prowlings at various trailheads along the Centennial Trail – from the west end to the Spokane Valley – just since mid-February. Thieves have broken into cars in various parking lots, and gotten away with iPads and GPS units, as well as wallets, purses, briefcases and other valuables.
Raven Jones is one of the victims; she was at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley on March 8th with her baby and a friend to enjoy the river for a few minutes. But when they returned to the parking lot, her car window was shattered. The thieves stole their purses, including social security cards and credit cards, as well as a diaper bag and camera with pictures of Jones' newborn baby.
The alarming thing is, none of it was in plain view; Jones' tucked everything underneath a seat, parked next to other cars, and it was in broad daylight.
"I realized all of the pictures were in there, and that's the hardest thing," she told KHQ. "Everything else is replaceable but the pictures aren't."
She says if anyone has that memory card, they can return it to the Pizza Rita on North Wall, no questions asked.
Other trail-goers are also taking precautions; Linda Anderson and Karen Jurasin took their purses with them on the trail when they left from the Mirabeau Park trailhead Tuesday.
"We have a ladies group that we hike with regularly on the Centennial Trail and other trials, and yes, we've seen quite a few cars that have been broken into, so we're vey careful," Jurasin said.
Now, those ladies are careful to park in spots that are out in the open and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
"They'll break your window to see if there's anything in your car because people hide stuff under the seats, so even if they don't see it in the car they'll sometimes break in, but if you leave something visible, it's almost guaranteed," Jurasin added.
If you have any information that could help police, call Crime Check at 456-2233.