Thieves target cars at rural trailheads


News staff writer

July 26, 2006

Forty-six car prowls have taken place this year at rural trailheads across Hood River County.

Sheriff Detective Gerry Tiffany said it is unlikely the crimes are all being committed by the same person. He said it is more probable that identity thieves — or methamphetamine addicts — have discovered a new source of wealth.

“Because of our close proximity to Portland they can be using the credit cards before the person even gets back from the hike and finds out he or she has been robbed,” said Tiffany.

He said the latest modus operandi is for the culprit to smash the glass out of a car window and then rummage around inside for something of value. For that reason, Tiffany quoted tht the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” doesn’t work to protect your wallet or purse anymore.

“You need to leave your valuables at home and just carry the essentials with you — such as a driver’s license — that can be taken along with you,” he said.

Tiffany said registration papers and insurance cards should also be removed from the glove compartment of a parked car. He said thieves appear to be taking those documents for later use in forgery or fraud crimes.

He said most of the thefts from vehicles left in rustic areas from Eagle Creek to Government Camp are occurring on the weekend. And, many times, the suspect seems to target a vehicle that is parked alone in the lot.

“It appears that, this year, they are just breaking in and going on a fishing expedition to see what’s inside. The only thing you can really do to protect yourself is make sure they don’t have anything to find,” said Tiffany.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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