HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Ashland Police Department is asking the public for help identifying a group of about four to five men who were caught on camera entering 13 vehicles over the weekend.

Chip Watts, a spokesperson for the police department, said the men appeared to be juveniles and were seen on camera checking for unlocked car doors across different streets in Ashland.

Watts said the suspects checked all sorts of areas and that footage showed them outside townhouses, residential neighborhoods and apartment buildings. Impacted areas include the west side of town — Wesley Street, John Street, Chapman Street, as well as Arlington Square, Misty Pines and Ashland Towne Square.

The suspects stole laptops, wallets, credit cards and other personal belongings from the vehicles. Some items have since been recovered.

Credit: Ashland Police Department

A long-time resident of Ashland, Rachel Levy said that she’s never felt unsafe in the neighborhood, but she’s always careful to lock her car doors. “We have strong communities where people know each other and people feel invested in the community,” Levy said.

Police are reminding the community to hide their belongings, lock their car doors, remove valuables from the car and to take their keys with them indoors. While there are precautions that individuals can take to prevent themselves from becoming victims, the Ashland Police Department emphasized that it’s not putting blame on those who were robbed, even if their car doors were left unlocked.

“Nobody should be committing crimes obviously,” Watts said. “It’s the fault of the person taking the items, but we can certainly — just like we should lock our houses when we leave our house — we should lock our cars when we leave as well, just as a simple crime-prevention technique.”

The Ashland Police Department asks anyone with information or doorbell surveillance footage to call them at 804-798-1227, or contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000. Anonymous tips can also be left through the department’s website.

Credit: Ashland Police Department
Credit: Ashland Police Department