Since Jan. 1, dozens of vehicles have been broken into in the northeast part of the county.
In the Gwinnett County Police Department's North Precinct, which covers Buford, Sugar Hill, Rest Haven and unincorporated parts of Lawrenceville, Dacula and Suwanee (see map), a total of 47 car break-ins have been reported since Jan. 1 according to precinct commander Maj. John Strickland.
"[The] entering autos were a combination of both forced and non-forced," Strickland wrote in an email to Patch. "Several were pick-up trucks and SUVs in which the door locks were broken."
In those instances, Strickland explained, the suspects punched a small hole into the door near the lock and were subsequently able to defeat the locking mechanism.
One of the most recent incidents occurred Jan. 26 at the Hamilton Mill 14 theater in Dacula. The victim in that case emailed Patch and advised the lock was punched on his Ford F150. The thief or thieves reportedly took two guns and a flight bag with data and support equipment. The total estimated value of the items was $6,000. Four additional break-ins were reported on Jan. 26, including two at Golden Corral in Buford and one at the Buford Walmart.
The most active day for break-ins so far this month was on Jan. 19 when 10 cars were entered.
The primary items taken in these thefts have been electronics and handguns.
"In some cases, victims had left items valued at thousands of dollars inside their vehicle," Strickland wrote. "Citizens should be reminded to never leave any items of value inside their vehicle -- especially firearms."
Though many of the break-ins have been at the Mall of Georgia, others have occurred at and fitness centers.
"The Gwinnett County Police Department has taken a number of steps to address these," Strickland advised. "This includes uniform patrol, unmarked patrol, bicycle patrol, and foot patrol."
The cases remain under investigation.
Have you ever been the victim of a car break-in? Were any of the stolen items ever recovered? Let us know in the comments.
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