The number of automobile thefts are on the rise in Sunnyside, but there is something residents can do to thwart would-be car thieves.
"Lock your cars and take the keys inside," said Sunnyside Police Sgt. Jeff Cunningham.
In most of the recent car thefts the keys were left inside the car, Cunningham said.
During the summer people may be in a hurry to get inside and often neglect to lock their vehicles.
The cars are taken for joy rides, or items are stolen from the front seats.
"Don't leave valuables in your cars," urged Cunningham.
Thieves will vandalize cars by breaking windows to get whatever is laying in plain sight on the car seats, he warned.
Most of the car thefts have been occurring late at night when would-be thieves are wandering through neighborhoods looking for opportunities to commit crimes, he noted.
The cars are often taken for joy rides or are stripped down, Cunningham said.
In just the past 24-hours four cars were broken into and/or driven away, according to the Sunnyside police log. Taken from the 1300 block of Yakima Valley Highway was a 1995 blue Dodge Neon, from the 800 block of South Ninth Street a 1994 black Ford Explorer, from the 2900 block of Allen Road a green Toyota pick-up truck disappeared, as well as vandalism to a 1994 red Ford Ranger in the 100 block of Nicolai Avenue.
Yesterday's police log also listed a report of vehicle prowling in the 700 block of Woods Road.
Vehicle prowling often leads to car thefts or vandalism, said Cunningham.
Anyone seeing suspicious persons in their neighborhoods are encouraged to take note of the physical description of the persons and report to the police.
But most importantly, said Cunningham, lock up your cars and take the keys and all valuables inside.
"Don't make it easy for thieves to walk off with your property," he said.