Baltimore County police made 18 auto theft arrests last month in an effort to curtail the wave of car thefts in the southwestern part of the county, along the city border.
Capt. John A. Spiroff, commander of the Wilkens precinct, said the auto thefts were concentrated in Lansdowne and Arbutus, prompting him to increase police personnel within the Wilkens precinct.
"When we saw that, we started increasing our traffic enforcement along main [traffic] arteries," said Spiroff, who keeps maps hanging in the hallway outside his office marking the theft locations.
Police recovered 26 of the 36 cars stolen in the precinct during May. Seventeen arrests were made by patrol officers and a unit assigned to the precinct to tackle crime trends. The last arrest was made by the Regional Auto Theft Task Force.
Spiroff said officers also increased patrols at parking lots, looking for stolen tags and conducting surveillance. In many instances, he said, those arrested were members of gangs who sell car parts overseas.
About 3,000 cars were stolen in the county last year.