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String of car break-ins in Ashland last weekend

Police are warning residents to lock their cars and keep valuables hidden after a string of car break-ins in Ashland last weekend.

Five cars parked above Siskiyou Boulevard, between Southern Oregon University and Ashland Community Hospital, were broken into on Friday and Saturday, and more than $2,500 in loot was taken from the vehicles, said Lt. Corey Falls with the Ashland Police Department.

Two other attempted car break-ins were reported last weekend and three others occurred a few days before that, bringing the total number of break-ins and attempted break-ins in the last week to 10.

No one has been arrested for any of the break-ins and police have no suspects, Falls said.

"It could have been people just walking though the neighborhoods, checking cars," he said. "People feel safe in this community and they don't lock their vehicles, although two of the victims thought they did."

Vehicle thefts have increased across the Rogue Valley in recent weeks, officials reported Monday.

Medford police investigated 89 thefts from vehicles in July, a "significant" increase, they said. Sheriff's officials reported four break-ins Sunday at Emigrant and Applegate lakes.

In Ashland, a thief attempted to break into a car early Friday in the 300 block of Scenic Drive, by throwing a large landscaping rock at the car's window, causing about $1,200 in damages, according to the police report.

Falls said someone threw a similar rock at three other cars to try to gain entry to the vehicles last week.

"There's been a string of cars getting hit," he said.

At least one other case involved a thief entering a garage in the 1100 block of Village Green Drive in an attempt to steal items from a car parked there late Saturday or early Sunday, he said.

Detectives believe at least some of the break-ins are related, Falls said.

Many of the cars were left unlocked, he said. A few of the owners said they had locked their cars, but there were no signs of forced entry into the vehicles, so it's unclear whether the cars were indeed locked, Falls said.

Two sets of golf clubs, valued at $1,350 total, were stolen from a car parked in the 100 block of Hargadine Street between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, police said.

About $100 in cash and $50 worth of CDs was stolen from three unlocked cars parked in the 500 block of Taylor Street between midnight and 11 a.m. Saturday, according to the police report.

A $400 purse, a $200 iPod and a $230 GPS device were stolen from a car parked in the 600 block of Morton Street between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. Saturday, according to the report.

Falls said people should always lock their cars, not just when there's a string of break-ins in the city.

"Not just right now — but all the time — we want people to make sure they don't leave valuables in plain sight and they lock their cars," he said.

Anyone with information on the break-ins is asked to contact the Ashland Police Department at 541-482-5211.

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.