Detectives found bags full of items suspected of being stolen in car break-ins over the last month when they arrested a New Carlisle man squatting in a vacant home this week.
Sean Dillon, 33, of New Carlisle is booked in the Clark County Jail on charges of breaking and entering and receiving stolen property.
The Clark County Sheriff’s office has taken several reports of items stolen from cars in New Carlisle neighborhoods since the beginning of October, said Det. Brian Melchi.
“Unfortunately, it’s happening more and more when people are looking for the easy ways to get a few extra dollars,” he said.
A backpack filled with designer sunglasses, car keys, purses and credit cards was discovered with Dillon when he was arrested by deputies Monday inside a vacant house on North Scott Street.
At least two items in that stash have been linked to reports of items stolen from vehicles in the area, Melchi said.
Now, the sheriff’s office is asking anyone who has noticed items missing from their vehicles in the New Carlisle area to report those items as stolen.
“Hopefully we can find who the owner of all this property is,” Melchi said, possibly linking Dillon to other crimes in the area.
The easiest way to prevent crime is to be proactive, deputies said, such as locking car doors and removing anything valuable from vehicles when they’re parked.
“They don’t lock their cars because they know everybody and it’s comfortable around here,” said Julee Smith of New Carlisle.
Drug crimes have spiked more than 20 percent so far this year over numbers reported last year, according to data from the sheriff’s office.
Drug problems are often linked to other crimes, such as theft, said Sheriff Gene Kelly.
“That’s the driving factor why people trespass — they break in and they’re trying to steal things they can quickly turn into cash for drugs,” he said.
New Carlisle cut its police force from four deputies to two at the beginning of the year as part of budget constraints.
In July, after a noticeable spike in the number of reported crimes in the city, New Carlisle officials and the sheriff’s office worked out ways to add patrol hours inside city limits.
“We’ve started crime watch groups and done everything in our power — even bringing in the highway patrol to patrol for traffic — in the situation,” Kelly said.
The sheriff’s office, New Carlisle City Council and residents held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss policing efforts inside the city for 2016.
Voters passed a half-percent income tax hike in May that will generate $500,000 a year in additional revenue for police protection.
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