City police warn of vehicle smash and grabs

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis police are warning city residents and visitors of the need to remain vigilant of items being left in their vehicles during the holiday season.

“The problem is that people leave valuables in view (inside their vehicles) instead of taking them out, hiding them or putting them in their trunk,” said Interim Police Chief Jeff Boyer.

On Nov. 13, three vehicles were allegedly broken into and reported items being stolen. Gallipolis officers responded to Golden Corral on on the north side of Gallipolis around 7 p.m. about a theft from a vehicle. Officers contacted the victim,who said her purse had been stolen. Suspects allegedly made entry into the vehicle by breaking the left rear passenger window. The purse reportedly contained several credit cards and a checkbook.

A second victim also approached officers. Her purse had also been allegedly stolen. The purse contained $15 and a debit card. The suspect entered the victim’s vehicle by breaking the right front passenger window.

According to police reports, after officers cleared the scene, Gallia County dispatchers said there was a third victim coming to the station to file a theft report. The third victim reported that around 6:30 p.m. she had gone to KFC on Eastern Avenue. She returned to her vehicle to find her wallet missing. She allegedly left the door of her vehicle unlocked. She reported her purse had around $50 in it.

According to Boyer, the police department has had multiple calls about thefts in the Golden Corral parking lot over the years.

“It’s a larger parking lot. It has easy access to get out,” Boyer said. “You can get on (U.S. Route) 35 and go to the bridge and you can go north or go south. You can go a thousand different ways really quick.”

Boyer had said in the past that officers had found reported stolen purses on West Virginia State Route 2 going out of Point Pleasant.

One of the vehicles broken into was a white 2016 Kia Sorrento. The other was a 1999 Chevrolet 210 Series.

“Thefts in cars step up during the holiday season because people will often leave presents in the car,” Boyer said. “If someone just sees an iPad lying in the car, they’re more likely to break the window real quick, grab it and run. Then you’re out the money you spent on it. Keep things out of sight and out of mind. People are less likely to want to go through a trunk if they’re not sure anything is in it.”

Gallipolis Police Department also advised citizens to take note of the new crosswalk sign in front of the Gallipolis Justice Center. Drivers need to stop for those waiting to cross in the crosswalk, but otherwise do not need to stop as they travel Second Avenue.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright