More than 1,700 vehicle thefts reported this year in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington police is urging residents to take valuable items out of vehicles and to lock the doors, to help prevent crime.
According to Lexington police, from January through November of this year, 1,760 thefts from vehicles were reported to the department, including 334 firearms. The department has also investigated more than 900 cases of stolen automobiles during the same time period.
“Most of these crimes of opportunity occur because a vehicle was left unlocked or a valuable item was in plain view,” Chief Lawrence Weathers said. “Officers hear every day from victims who had wallets, expensive electronics, medication, guns, and other valuables stolen.”
Chief Weathers says the number of stolen firearms is concerning because they are rarely recovered, “A stolen gun is a crime gun, and it could be used to carry out other criminal activity, such as a robbery or shooting.”
So far this year, Weathers says only about five percent of the guns reported stolen from a vehicle in Lexington have been located, “We’ve got to do everything we can to prevent all of these thefts from happening.”
Lexington police has also seen a recent uptick in thefts of vehicles that were left running. Over the past week, seven vehicles were stolen while they were running, unlocked, and unattended.
Patrol officers and detectives in the Larceny Crimes Section are making continued progress in apprehending and charging suspects in auto-related crimes. Recent cases include:
  • Shawn Wylie, 45, was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (contents of vehicle) on December 17 after officers observed him taking items from an SUV on Bryant Road.
  • Tyler Gibson, 30; Jessica Houp, 28; and Byron Strunk, 41, were charged December 10 in connection with thefts from vehicles in Beaumont Centre as well as in the Broadway/Cedar Street area. These suspects are believed to be responsible for dozens of thefts in recent weeks.
  • 17-year-old male was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (contents of vehicle) after he was found in the early morning hours of December 4 with a laptop taken from an unlocked SUV in the Angliana area.
  • David Orndorff, 20, was arrested November 7 after an officer observed him taking items from vehicles in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Found in Orndorff’s possession were two wallets, a purse, a laptop, two pairs of shoes, earpods, heroin, synthetic marijuana, and a stolen handgun.
  • On October 20 officers received a call of two suspicious subjects checking door handles in the North Pointe neighborhood. A 17-year-old male was detained and found to be in possession of a firearm that had been stolen from a vehicle earlier in the month.
  • 14-year-old male and a 17-year-old male were charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (contents of vehicle) after video surveillance showed them taking ammunition and other items from vehicles on the night of October 18.
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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!