Car break-ins frustrate Sarpy County vehicle owners

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A frustrating start to the day for dozens of Sarpy County car owners and several visitors to the area. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating 20 car break-ins.

La Vista Police report at least 12 cases and some victims are hotel guests. But a suspect hit one neighborhood where homeowners invested in security cameras.

At 125th and Cornhusker in Sarpy County, one man is suspected in many car break-ins. When he encountered locked doors, windows got smashed.

What’s costly and frustrating for victims of crimes like this isn’t just what the thief took from inside the vehicle but replacing the window. Those aren’t cheap for car owners who have high-deductible insurance.

There was nothing stolen from his car, but Rob Young had to pay $200 to replace broken glass.

“I’m not the richest guy out there, so, like, $200 means a lot to me. So having to pay that really pisses me off,” he said.

Several vehicles parked outside in a neighborhood near 125th and Cornhusker have broken windows that need to be replaced. But that may also help in tracking a suspect with blood and fingerprints found by crime scene techs. The evidence gathered will support photos of the suspect and the vehicle he’s driving.

Bobby Niles, another car break-in victim, said, “Yeah, we got plenty of cameras, and neighbors have cameras, too, so hopefully between all of us we’re able to provide enough video evidence to identify him.”

Nothing was stolen from Niles’ unlocked car, so there were no broken windows for him. But some neighbors who never leave valuables in the cars still lose by locking doors.

Steve Kahl, of ABC Glass, said, “Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of break-ins now that the weather is nice and people are out. We didn’t see so much when the COVID.”

Pat Lemmers’ agency represents 12 insurance companies.

“All the companies I know of are now charging a surcharge when you turn in a theft claim,” the insurance agent said. “So, now, you’re going to have a three-year surcharge at about 25%.”

“It was very lucky that this one was in stock because of the shortage of glass,” said Virginia Kahl of ABC Glass. “I don’t quite understand why glass has such a huge shortage.”

But there’s no shortage of photos showing a suspect at the scene of car break-ins. Home security cameras ensure that victims have a chance at justice.

“I’m not going to get my money back from this, but just to know he has to pay some type of price — hopefully, a couple of years in jail — but he needs to pay something,” Young said.

Sheriff’s Detective Matt Barrall said the thief got two laptops, a few tools, and some credit cards. But the damage caused is far more costly. If anyone recognizes the suspect, call La Vista Police at (402) 331-4343 or the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office at (402) 593-2288. Any tips may lead to a reward from Sarpy County Crime Stoppers.

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