Overland Park Police say ‘teams’ of thieves may be responsible for more than 100 car break-ins

Katalyn Sears cuts more tape to use while trying to secure a plastic bag over the driver-side window of her Jeep Compass on Wednesday morning. Sears was one of at least 60 apartment complex residents who woke up to find their car windows smashed and items stolen. Photo credit Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3.

By Carlos Moreno

More than 60 vehicles in south Overland Park were broken into early Wednesday morning in what police say appears to be an organized effort.

“We think it had to have been a team,” says Overland Park Police spokesperson John Lacy. “At least six, even probably 10 people going from car to car, breaking windows, looking inside, things of that sort.”

The break-ins were mostly located in four different apartment complex parking lots along 135th Street, between Nall and Metcalf. The thieves appeared to target items visible through the windows, but also looted through the cars’ compartments and center console.

Lacy said he expects many more break-in reports to be filed as the day went on.

“The reason they go into these apartment complexes is because it’s a target-rich environment with plenty of cars,” Lacy said.

The Overland Park thefts come just a day after more than 40 cars were broken into in Grandview on Tuesday. Police there are still investigating the early morning break-ins and asking the public for any information they might have.

Lacy said the two break-ins bore similar traits, but didn’t say whether the two events were connected.

Across the Corbin Park area, residents on Wednesday morning covered broken windows with plastic bags and vacuumed glass from the inside of their cars.

Katalyn Sears taped a trash bag over her driver-side window of her Jeep Compass near her apartment in Corbin Park.

“It’s been really hard calling different glass places because everyone and their mother is trying to get that done today,” Sears said.

Sears said she heard car alarms going off early in the morning but she didn’t find her car broken into until around 8:30, when she came outside and found people milling about and police officers taking information.

“It stinks, especially with this weather,” she says.

Several cars near hers were targeted as well. But other than smashing her window, Sears says the thieves appear only to have stolen her Ray Ban sunglasses.

“It’s like every other car at least,” she said. “I figured my glasses would be taken, but everything else they just threw around.”

Sears said she was surprised by how brazen the thieves were.

“It’s pretty open here,” she said of the parking area. “They were pretty brave to do that.”

Lacy said car owners need to be removing all valuables from their cars at night, and that vehicle owners should lock glove boxes and any other compartments if possible.

Lacy said that Overland Park Police don’t have any suspects yet, and are asking the public if they heard or saw anything to contact the police. But he also said people need to be arming their car alarms.

“We have a lot of people who just locked the car, but didn’t set the alarm,” Lacy said. “We want them to operate their alarm because as soon as they break that window or if they’re inside of that vehicle, the alarm is gonna activate.”

KCUR 89.3 is Kansas City’s NPR affiliate public radio station. You can read and listen to more of their reporting at kcur.org.