abandoned car

Uptick — In recent weeks, Healdsburg has seen an uptick in car thefts. It’s always a good idea to make sure your car is locked and no valuables are left inside that could potentially lure in a thief.

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The Healdsburg Police Department took six reports of stolen vehicles between July 15 and July 18, according to police logs and recent statements on the department’s Facebook page. So far, several arrests have been made and three of the stolen vehicles have been recovered.

The vehicles were stolen from various neighborhoods across town, Parkland Farms, Matheson Street, Prentice Drive and Fitch and Grove Streets. 

The first incident occurred on July 15 around 2:15 p.m. with a report of a stolen vehicle at Matheson and Center Streets and an arrest made. The second instance of vehicle theft occurred later that day around 8:20 p.m. on Rosewood Drive.

On Friday morning, July 17, another stolen vehicle was reported on Prentice Drive and the next day, two more stolen vehicles were reported, one on Matheson Street and one on Grove, and the sixth stolen car was found just outside city limits.

According to a statement from the Healdsburg Police Department, one vehicle was recovered a few blocks from where it was stolen and another was recovered just outside city limits on Alexander Valley Road.

In this case, the car was found to be occupied by an adult female who was taken into custody that day, July 18. The female, 42-year-old Kathryn Lee Nichols, a transient from Missouri was arrested for possession of the stolen vehicle and vehicle theft.

On Thursday morning, July 23, 37-year-old Healdsburg resident Wesley James Bergman came into the police department on Center Street and turned himself in for the vehicle theft from Fitch Street. According to a statement on the police department’s Facebook page, Bergman provided extensive knowledge of the theft that could have only been known by the thief.

According to the police, the vehicle had been recovered by the CHP north of Healdsburg approximately two days after the theft occurred. The suspect was booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

The last time thefts were on the rise was in 2009 when the department saw a 6.4% increase in Part I crimes (felony crimes such as theft, auto theft, robbery, arson, murder, etc.), which was in large part due to an increase in personal property thefts, however, car thefts leveled out a bit that year

Healdsburg Police Lt. Matt Jenkins said the best thing for people to do to avoid car thefts is to make sure their car doors are locked and to remove keys from the car.

“When taking reports of stolen vehicles, we often learn that the victim failed to do one or both of these,” Jenkins said.

He said it’s also a good idea to remove any items from inside the car — such as electronics, tools or purses — that may draw the attention of a thief.

“It is not uncommon for a suspect to steal a car after they are rummaging through it looking for valuables and instead finding a key. Removing valuables from the car to begin with makes the car less attractive to the initial theft/vehicle burglary,” Jenkins said.

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