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As more people head outside, Sheriff's Office urges them to lock vehicles, remove valuables

As more people head outside, Sheriff's Office urges them to lock vehicles, remove valuables
Signs in the parking lots at the Ma & Pa Trail heads, like the one near the dog park off Tollgate Road, remind trail users to be careful when leaving their vehicles. (Erika Butler / The Aegis)

As the weather gets warmer, more people are heading outside and that means more opportunity for theft.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office is trying to be proactive and remind people using outdoor facilities, like the Ma & Pa Trail, to be safe when parking their cars.

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At least one series of break-ins has been reported so far this spring. On May 18, at 4:26 p.m., deputies responded to the parking lot of the Ma & Pa Trail at North Tollgate Road and County Home Road for the report of a theft from motor vehicle, said Kyle Andersen, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were told windows of multiple vehicles were smashed and items were stolen. The investigation into this incident is ongoing, he said.

“Historically, during this time of year, we see an increase in thefts from vehicles in the parking lots of many outdoor recreation facilities and trails, including the Ma & Pa Trail,” Andersen said. “With the warm weather, criminals know an increasing number of people utilize these facilities and trails, and potentially leave valuables in their car at the parking lots.”

Knowing that, the Sheriff’s Office has increased its presence at these locations to deter criminals. Deputies are conducting additional patrol checks, and have targeted patrols scheduled on bike and ATV at many of these locations.

An electronic flashing sign on Tollgate Road approaching the parking lots also urges trail and park visitors to lock their cars and remove any valuables.

“As always, we encourage anyone using the Ma & Pa Trail, or any other popular outdoor venues, to refrain from leaving valuables in their car, and to make sure their cars are locked at all times,” Andersen said. “And if you see something, say something. If you see suspicious behavior, call 911 immediately.”

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