Crime

Columbus police see recent spike in car thefts. Here’s some tips to keep your vehicle safe

‘We need the officers’: Columbus police chief explains new recruitment strategies

The Columbus Police Department in Columbus, GA, is looking to hire up to 100 police officers and 911 operators, or dispatchers. They hosted a hiring event at Goodwill Aug. 22, 2019, in hopes of filling the jobs.
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The Columbus Police Department in Columbus, GA, is looking to hire up to 100 police officers and 911 operators, or dispatchers. They hosted a hiring event at Goodwill Aug. 22, 2019, in hopes of filling the jobs.

A recent rash of vehicle break-ins and thefts has led local law enforcement to arrest five people and recover 10 stolen vehicles.

According to a press release from Columbus Police Department’s Property Crime Units, investigations of 50 reported incidents over the last few weeks led to the discovery of three separate “rings” of thieves targeting different parts of town.

Sgt. Jane Edenfield said Thursday that additional warrants, arrests and case clearances are likely as the department continues to investigate.

“We’ve been getting so many reports and cases that once we’ve been able to identify a few we’re having to track back on some cases,” Edenfield said.

Multiple reports made in June through August in northwest Columbus led to the arrests of Markavion Epps and Marvin Gaye Adams on August 22 and July 25, respectively. Both were arrested for their involvement in the theft of vehicles and break-ins.

According to the release, Epps and Adams were linked to approximately 30 cases occurring primarily in the neighborhoods off of Whitesville Road, Mobley Road and Double Churches Road.

Another series of reports of vehicle theft and entering auto made in the middle of June through the end of August in northeast Columbus, east Columbus and south Columbus led to the arrests of two juveniles this month.

The two were arrested August 22 for their involvement in the theft of vehicles and break-ins, the release states. The stolen vehicles were dumped in the areas surrounding Lee Street, Mellon Street, Andrews Road and Evergreen Street.

In yet another separate instance, a man was arrested in connection with 19 cases of entering auto and damaged property that occurred between August 19 and August 21 in the historic district.

Nicholas Weaver was arrested by members of the property crimes unit on August 23.

Edenfield said these types of crime tend to “ebb and flow.”

“We see surges like this and then we’ll kind of wrangle in these crews, and then it’ll slow down for a little bit and then it will pop up again,” she said. “But we’re not used to having three different groups hitting three parts of town that weren’t really related to each other like this.”

Something else she noted that was different about the recent crime spree was the amount of cars stolen. She said that suspects were taking spare keys that had been left in cars and using them to steal other cars at residences.

“We’ve got video where they’re in these stolen cars and going to do more car break-ins,” Edenfield said.

Edenfield urges citizens to stop leaving valuable items in cars, firearms specifically.

“That’s a big thing, people leaving their firearms in there over night,” she said. “Whether the car is locked or not locked, they’ll either bust the window or not. That gets firearms in the wrong hands.”

She also recommends keeping car doors locked, because thieves will often keep moving if they check a door handle and the car is locked.

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