Rocky Mount police are investigating a series of larcenies and breaking and entering incidents discovered Sunday in the same vicinity committed by a criminal whom authorities refer to as a “handle-puller.”
Police began receiving several calls Sunday morning from residents in and around the 1300 block of West Mount Drive, Rocky Mount police Cpl. Mike Lewis said.
A handle-puller is a thief who cruises through neighborhoods trying every door knob and car door handle they come across to see if they are open in an effort to steal whatever is inside.
Officers were called to investigate a motor vehicle larceny on the 1300 block of West Mount Drive in which a pair of sunglasses, set of jumper cables and a flashlight were stolen. The pair of Oakleys and the jumper cables later were located close to the owner’s home, Lewis said.
Directly next door, the owner of a 1990 Buick LeSabre reported $500 in damage to the ignition of his vehicle in an apparent motor vehicle theft attempt.
A 2002 Ford F-350 was stolen on the 100 block of Westbury Lane and eventually located Sunday in Winston-Salem, authorities said.
A resident on the 100 block of Barrington Court reported his tool shed had been broken into, but he could not find anything missing.
Four fishing rods and a gas can were taken from a boat on the 100 block of Abbington Court but were recovered by authorities not far from the owner’s house.
“We really don’t receive a lot of calls from this area,” Lewis said. “With all of the unlocked doors, it seems like this was a case of ‘it can’t happen to me.’ We just want to encourage everyone to not leave items that you care for or items that are expensive to be seen in plain view.”
If the items can be removed, they should be taken out and stored in a safe, locked-up location, Lewis said.
“Sometimes the intruders aren’t necessarily hardened criminals but rather kids looking to be kids,” Lewis said.
The Rocky Mount Police Department also encourages people to be observant of their surroundings and to know what is going on in their community by keeping their eyes open, he said.
“Give us the opportunity to send a unit out and talk to these people,” Lewis said. “If a person walking through a yard looks suspicious, they may be a kid visiting from a different neighborhood or somebody over there with the wrong intentions.”