Deputies see an unusual number of car burglaries at trailheads


With the weather warming up, thieves will be targeting vehicles parking at trail heads and recreation areas. But law enforcement officers say it's been a problem all winter long and that's unusual.

"We've seen a spike in vehicle burglaries at these recreation areas that we don't normally see in the winter time," said Bob Harmon the spokesman for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.

Harmon said the break-ins are happening along the Mt. Rose corridor, along trails, parking lots and recreation areas, from Galena to the summit to Sheeps Flat along Highway 431.

"I don't know if it's been a milder winter, there's more people out," he said. "When they watch you go up that trail, they're assuming they've got at least an hour or two before you come back."

Kyle Archuluta and his 12-year-old son London were out for a mountain bike ride at the end of last month over spring break.

"It's beautiful. It's everything Northern Nevada has to offer," Kyle said.

But he said he never leaves items in his vehicle while they're on the trail. He was shocked to hear the news about the year-round vehicle burglaries.

"Very surprising," Kyle said.

A woman told News 4 that her purse was stolen from the Callahan Park off Mt. Rose Highway recently. She stuffed it under the seat, covered by a jacket so it was out of sight. It's unclear if the burglar saw her stash the purse or just hit her car at random.

"That does concern me in the fact that obviously someone's watching I don't think it was random break-in. Makes me look around and see whose watching," said Bruce Sims who was hiking at Callahan Park.

Sheriff's detectives say the person who stole the woman's purse used her credit and debit cards. Deputies are looking for Frank James Peterson. He was spotted on security cameras using the cards. The victim asked News 4 why Washoe County doesn't have security cameras in the parking lots. Harmon said with 60 to 80 parks, it would be an expensive undertaking.

"I'm not sure you can put a camera everywhere. I think part of it is you have to be really careful," said hiker Marcie Herman.

Harmon said now that the warmer weather is here, there will be more car burglaries. He said it's important to leave all valuables at home or take them with you on the trail.

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