Oakwood rise in vehicle thefts includes city facility, part of Dayton-area crime increase

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

Victims left their cars unlocked with the keys inside, Oakwood authorities say

OAKWOOD — A significant increase in vehicle thefts have been reported in Oakwood in the past two months, including a privately-owned truck from the city’s public works center.

Since Sept. 28, 11 stolen vehicle reports have been taken, nine more than in all of 2021, according to the Oakwood Safety Department.

The thefts come at a time when the number of stolen vehicle reports have increased dramatically in the Dayton region, Oakwood Safety Director Alan Hill said.

“Vehicle thefts are surging throughout our region, and the problem is not slowing down,” Hill said in a released statement.

In all the recently reported Oakwood incidents, the vehicles were believed to be unlocked with the keys inside when taken, authorities said.

Among those reported stolen in Oakwood was a pick-up truck owned by a city employee who reported it missing from the public works center at 210 Shafor Blvd., records show.

“Although local law enforcement agencies are collaborating to provide focused efforts on recovering stolen vehicles, and those responsible for stealing them, citizen engagement in protecting their vehicles is still the first and best line of defense,” Hill said.

The report taken Nov. 12 at the city facility on Shafor said the worker arrived about 7:20 a.m. and parked in the northwest corner of the lot with keys inside. The employee returned about 9:55 a.m. and did not find the truck, records state.

“Police accessed the facilities camera system and we were able to see what appears to be a male and a female enter the facility from the east around” 8 a.m., the police report states.

“They eventually walked to the western end of the parking lot. There was no camera directly pointing at the stolen truck, but we presume that the male entered it, found the keys and the two drove back around the back of the building and out the front gate” about 8:15 a.m., records state.

A handful of Oakwood thefts were reported in October, when nine local law enforcement agencies said they have teamed up to conduct anti-crime blitzes focused on recovering stolen vehicles and apprehending car thieves at a time when area communities have seen auto thefts skyrocket.

Viral social media videos that give step-by-step instructions on how to quickly and fairly easily steal certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been blamed for massive surges in motor vehicle thefts in local communities, including Dayton, Kettering, Vandalia, Trotwood and other parts of Montgomery County.

Police in those communities and other law enforcement agencies say they are working together and putting considerable resources toward the problem.

This year, the Dayton Police Department has experienced a more than 60% increase in car thefts, while the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has seen a nearly 70% increase.

Car thefts are up 30% in Trotwood, and they have risen by slightly more than that in Vandalia. Kettering has had 63 cars reported stolen, compared to 25 during the same period last year, more than a 150% increase, officials said.