San Diego

El Cajon Neighbors Band Together to Stop Rash of Car Break-Ins

At least four residents along Arnheim Court off Jasmine Street and Pepper Drive in El Cajon reported their cars were burglarized early Thursday morning

Neighbors on an El Cajon block ravaged by car break-ins have pooled their resources in hopes of catching the person or people responsible for their frustration.

Residents of Arnheim Court off Jasmine Street and Pepper Drive plan to form a neighborhood crime watch group after several families had their vehicles burglarized or almost burglarized.

The El Cajon Police Department said at least four households from the neighborhood reported vehicles thefts Thursday. Robby Curtin and others told NBC 7 it happens every few months.

The watch group’s plan is to catch the crooks responsible, and they have so many surveillance cameras on their street that they might be able to do it.

Lester Buehner’s camera caught someone rummaging in his truck at exactly 4:16 a.m. Thursday, which is the same time frame everyone else was hit.

“Everything was pulled out and spread all around my truck,” he said. “You can see him get out of my truck and run up the street.”

Another neighbor’s footage shows two suspects bouncing from car to car, apparently checking for unlocked doors.

Arnheim Court is about a block away from a small strip mall off Main Street that houses a Metro PCS and a 99 Cents Only Store.

Police said cul-de-sacs are often targeted because it's easy to watch traffic coming in and out.

“I know (another neighbor) down the street on the corner got hit, too. Both his Jeep and his truck,” Curtin said, while conferencing with his newly befriended neighbor. 

“I'm tired of it,” he added. “The neighborhood has been getting hit a few times. My dad's had his car broken into.”

Curtin lost hundreds of dollars worth of stuff, but thieves also took sentimental items he can’t replace.

“They took letters and notes from people I've been saving,” he said. “The other stuff I can buy back but the notebook is what's really getting me.”

ECPD said investigators tend to see a rise in this type of crime when it rains because some thieves know the rain makes fingerprints harder to identify.

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