Ashland police are investigating a string of automobile break-ins and the theft of one car on Garfield Street.

Ashland police are investigating a string of automobile break-ins and the theft of one car on Garfield Street.

An unidentified person broke in to five vehicles in the first block of Garfield Street early Monday, smashing several car windows to gain entry and fleeing in a stolen car, said Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness. Police identified the stolen vehicle as a red 1992 Jeep Cherokee.

"This was kind of unusual," Holderness said. "It wasn't so much a break-in to take things. They were breaking in to try and steal the vehicle."

Police found evidence of attempted car theft in several of the vehicles: the steering wheel was broken off of the front panel in at least two of the cars, and ignition wires were tampered with.

Officers received the first call just after 6 a.m.

The break-ins came on the heels of multiple reported thefts from parked cars around Medford. Police there responded to at least 16 cases of theft in the past several days, they said.

Holderness said the department has no reason to believe the Ashland break-ins are related in any way to the Medford activity. But he did say the department would collaborate with Medford officials to pursue leads on the cases in either city.

— Ashland Daily Tidings