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      Car Thefts And Break-Ins: Benson Area Hit Hard By Thieves

      Franque Thompson OMAHA (KPTM)- It may be wise to keep valuables and personal belongings out of sight of a thieves eye. Car thefts and break-ins are popping in Omaha. The Benson area has been hit pretty hard, as many people said the problem has been going on since the beginning of the year. "It's a steady problem in that, probably, one or two perpetrators haven't been caught yet," said John Larkin, 'Beercade' owner in Benson. According to Crime Mapping, within a one mile radius of 61st and Maple, 17 car thefts and break ins were reported to police within 30 days. Over the weekend, three cars were broken into on the same day. Larkin said he had also been hit. "My truck was broken into in the lot behind 'Beercade'. And after that I really was pushing on police to make sure that we get something done," he said, also stating he's had success with coordinating with police patrolling the area. The parking lot behind Beercade has surveillance cameras to monitor who is coming through the lot. The Benson community said it doesn't want the crime to taint it's thriving neighborhood. "That absolutely could ruin a lot of goodwill that we've gained over the last seven years," said Larkin. "It's kind of a blemish on our community. And after all the positive that's been happening, we want to make sure that this is resolved quickly," said Benson advocate Kurt Goetzinger. Larkin said it's not just this parking lot with the problem. Surrounding streets and neighborhoods also have issues. "If you see anything awkward, if you see anybody lurking around a parking lot say something to somebody and let's get this guy out of here," said Larkin. Goetzinger said police regularly patrol the area trying to track down the thief. However, these break-ins aren't just in the Benson area. Investigators said it's a city wide issue. To avoid a break-in or car theft, police suggest keeping all valuables out of sight. Doing this should help keep you from becoming a target. fthompson@kptm.com
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