Think like a thief to avoid property theft

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

It’s a shame when a law-abiding, long-time Selma resident shows up for work to find nearly the whole bottom half of his truck missing.

Randall Wade, co-owner of Wade Plumbing in Selma, is now without the tires, rims and brake assembly to his 2000 Ford F-150 XLT truck thanks to some hoodlums who had the gall to pull the job under bright flood-lighting at Wade’s business on the Cecil Jackson Bypass.

What’s Selma coming to when people are so desperate, or lazy, to try and get away with stuff like that? And who’s going to be stupid enough to buy obviously hot merchandise? Probably others just like the people who stole the tires in the first place.

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But in the spirit of community awareness, Selma Police Department Public Information Officer Warren Hinson offers some good ideas to help prevent vehicle breaking-and-entering: Park under bright lights. Use car alarms and other devices that will make it harder for thieves to succeed.

Hide items like cell phones, purses and any other valuables so thieves won’t be tempted. Avoid leaving your vehicle parked in places where there is little or no foot-traffic nearby. Think like a criminal, and do what you can to prevent break-ins in the first place. Finally, call the police immediately after discovering the theft. The sooner officers can get to the scene of the crime, the fresher the evidence will be and the greater the chances they’ll recover your items and catch the thieves.

Anybody who’s ever had anything stolen knows the feelings of utter violation and anger the incident prompts. At the same time, though, anybody with eyes can tell Selma is not the most affluent town in the South. Poor people can get desperate, can get discouraged, can turn to crime when all else seems to fail.

But that doesn’t excuse unlawful behavior, even if those of us who go to bed at night with our bellies full are hard-pressed to understand the plight of those less fortunate than us.

For as Wade says, &uot;People just have no respect anymore. I was just thoroughly shocked to know they’d come onto private property to do something like this. Every time I look at it (the truck), it makes me smoke even more.&uot;

Perhaps these particular thieves will be caught and do a little smoking themselves &045;&045; behind bars.

They deserve it.