After a recent rash of car break-ins and thefts, Wilton Police are warning residents to be more cautious and careful about protecting their property. Wilton Police Chief John Lynch told the Board of Selectmen at its meeting last night that car thieves are getting bolder and making increased appearances in Wilton. He reminded town residents that they play an important role in thwarting the thieves before they strike.

Lynch said that the break-ins and car thefts are mostly perpetrated by juveniles from nearby cities who come to Wilton.

“These gangs of mostly juveniles will hit town to town and just drive right up the highway and backroads and check driveways, and simply touch the handle. If it’s unlocked they go through the car, and if they push a button and it starts, they steal it,” he said.

When a car is stolen, it’s typically taken and later abandoned, most often in cities like Bridgeport and Waterbury.

Lynch said that the perpetrators are organized and growing bolder–and potentially more dangerous.

“What we’re finding is that some of the intel is that some of them may be becoming more aggressive. There was a report a few months back that they’re using larger, truck-like vehicles so they can bring more people with them, bring them to a community like Wilton or New Canaan, and they go in teams and steal as many cars as they can. There has been some indication that they could be armed and dangerous. We have not seen that here, but it is probably and a possibility,” he said.

He noted that there was a recent incident last weekend.

“They stole one car because the key was in it, it was unlocked obviously. but they also dumped a car–left a car–at the scene that had items stolen from another car in Wilton, but the car was stolen out of Middlefield. So they’re traveling all over, and when the car runs out of gas, they steal another,” Lynch said.

He said even though Wilton experiences a decent amount of car break-in activity, the town sees less of it compared to the towns and areas around us, something he attributes to both police presence and cooperation from homeowners who keep their cars locked.

“We’ve been fortunate here in Wilton–one, we try to maintain high visibility, which I think is helpful. We actually did have a pursuit the last time they came to town.  What’s important is reiterating to citizens about locking their vehicles, homeowners being vigilant and not leaving their keys in their cars. The other important aspect for us is full reporting–people may find someone had gone through their cars at night, but nothing’s missing so they don’t report it. It’s important for us to track this and share information with other departments,” Lynch said.

His advice, whether residents see an incident either during or after the break-in:  “If you do see it, call us, call 9-1-1 right away. Don’t approach, don’t try to interfere.”