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Cutting to the Core

Thieving out of hand in Sunnyside

What is wrong with some people in Sunnyside?

I'm talking about the thieves, you know who you are. What is up with you?

When I first moved to Sunnyside I was shocked at the amount of theft, especially auto theft, here in Sunnyside. For a town this small it seems like the crime rate wouldn't be too high.

I was wrong, as lately I have been so often.

Since the day before Thanksgiving, there have been 39 thefts or burglaries reported in Sunnyside. Of those 39 cases, 13 of them were stolen cars. Thirteen stolen cars in less than a two-week period. That's about one a day.

These are numbers that belong in a much bigger city, not Sunnyside. This city is on pace to have 365 cars stolen this year. That's insane.

Where do these cars go? Probably chop shops in the area. I guess Honda parts are expensive because I would guess that 90 percent of all cars stolen in Sunnyside are Hondas. I'm lucky no one wants my Mercury Tracer or I'm sure that would have been gone by now.

I think the police do what they can. They aren't able to do anything until a theft or burglary actually gets reported to them. I know people are caught, sent up to Yakima and then are back here in town before long. Maybe there is just too much small crime in the county so prosecutors cut deals.

I have had three experiences with thieves while living here for just over two years. Both of them were minimal, for which I should count myself lucky.

The first happened in the summer of 2006. Tanya, the Cub and I came home and my wife noticed our $20 barbecue was missing from our porch. As I walked up to the steps I was hoping the door was still locked. It was. The thieves or thief only took that.

Another incident where we didn't get robbed, but was still kind of scary, happened earlier this year. I came home and my wife told me four men had come to our door looking for a guy who had supposedly lived there before. I checked with my neighbors and they had never heard of the guy. I'm sure they were just scoping my house out to see if anyone was home and when my wife answered the door they made up that excuse.

I felt lucky. My wife isn't the biggest person in the world and the "what ifs" were sobering.

The third incident I just noticed yesterday. The ashtray in my car has been stolen. Who would do that? It's an ashtray for crying out loud. What puzzles me is I recently changed my heater core in my car and I had tools in there. None were taken that I can see, just my ashtray.

So I've been lucky during my stay in Sunnyside. Only a barbecue and an ashtray taken. It could be much worse. I never leave my camera gear at home when I go somewhere though, just in case.

So what can we as citizens do about this problem that I think is growing out of control? We need to take an active interest in our neighbors. We need to get nosy if we see someone unfamiliar in our neighborhoods.

Because if we don't, it just might be you that gets it next.

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