Colusa sees sudden spike in vehicle thefts
Small-town living doesn't mean it's safe to leave a spare key in an unlocked truck.
Colusa police reported a spike in vehicle thefts this year, primarily in the southeast quarter of town. Seven cars have been stolen in the six weeks since Jan. 1, while nine cars were stolen in all of 2012.
The Yuba-Sutter area is also experiencing a spike.
Colusa police have found that in each of the thefts, spare keys were left in the car, including one car that was stolen while warming up in front of the owner's house, police Chief Ross Stark said.
"The first line of defense is don't leave your keys in the car. The second: Don't leave your car unlocked," said Stark.
The cars were stolen during early morning hours, between midnight and sunrise, except the car stolen while warming up. That was stolen around 6:50 a.m.
All of the cars stolen within city limits this year have been recovered.
"The first one was found in Ceres, near Modesto; the second was found stripped outside of Arbuckle; third was found abandoned on Westcott Road; fourth recovered intact; and fifth intact. The two latest cases: One was found here in town and one was recovered between Meridian and Yuba City," said Stark.
There are suspects identified in two of the thefts, and police are seeking prosecution, Stark said.
One of the suspects is Dalia Amador, an 18-year-old Colusa woman. Amador was arrested Feb. 7 on Highway 20 in Yuba City after officials checked the vehicle's license plate and discovered it had been reported stolen out of Colusa.
The police are looking into whether the rash of thefts are connected.
The rest of Colusa County has not experienced as much activity.
"From beginning of the year until now, we have taken reports of five stolen vehicles," said Kristin Murphy, CHP public information officer in the Williams office. "From last year, in the month of January to (Feb. 13), there were three stolen. One was a trailer."
Williams police Chief Jim Saso reported there has been no spike in car thefts this year.
"There's only been one incident," said Saso. "We haven't had a lot of stolen vehicles. Really in the last month, we had one. That happened to be a vehicle that someone left running. It was driven around the block and then abandoned."
That vehicle was stolen and recovered in the Valley Ranch subdivision.
Yuba City and Marysville have also seen spikes in numbers of car thefts in the new year. Forty reports have been made in Yuba City, while Marysville police estimated about 20.
The CHP in the Yuba-Sutter area has received reports of 36 stolen vehicles, according to the Appeal-Democrat.