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Car thieves getting bolder in one Bettendorf neighborhood

“Well, it’s a pretty ugly way to wake up for your husband to basically say we were robbed.”

BETTENDORF, Iowa-- Car thefts continue to be a problem throughout the Quad Cities.

Paula O'Brien woke up Tuesday morning to her car missing from her garage.

"[My husband] was leaving at 5:45 this morning, and came out and our garage door was open and our car was missing," she says.

She says they had closed the garage door the night before, taking all the normal precautions to keep her belongings safe.

"We think we live in such a quiet, crime-free neighborhood, and then you have a rude awakening," O'Brien says.

She admits they made the mistake of leaving the key fob inside the car Monday night, making it easy for the thieves to start the car just by pushing a button after they broke in.

Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball says it can be all too easy for thieves to get into a garage. If another car is left unlocked in the driveway with a second garage door opener remote, thieves just have to open that car’s door to get in the garage.

"Without us hearing anything, without us noticing anything," O'Brien says. "They're obviously pretty skilled and pretty brazen."

And their boldness didn't stop with O'Brien. She says her coworker's garage, just a block away, was also broken into.

"Her house was hit, and she said five people on her street had their garages broken into last night," O'Brien says.

It's a problem this Bettendorf neighborhood says is only getting worse.

"It's getting kind of scary," Carl Nelson says. "We've had other people tell me that they've had their cars rifled through in the night."

Another neighbor even caught someone on surveillance video trying to open their car doors early one morning.

Nelson keeps his garage door locked at night. And O'Brien says she's going to invest in a device to lock her garage door at night. But she says it's violating that a thief can get through so many lines of defense.

"So the fact that those barriers that we had set up have been violated and they still got in and they were still able to steal from us like I said, it's pretty disheartening," she says.

O'Brien says she's going to start a neighborhood watch party to help her and her neighbors learn more ways to keep themselves safe.

Chief Kimball says the best line of defense is to just lock your car.

Bettendorf is seeing more stolen cars. Forty-seven cars were stolen in total last year, while this year 60 have been stolen. In 2016, only 15 cars were stolen.

Moline has also seen an increase, with 105 stolen cars this year compared to 88 in 2017.

In 2017, Davenport saw 577 stolen cars. So far this year, 456 have been stolen.

Rock Island had 111 cars stolen last year. 105 have been stolen this year.


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