A man who broke into more than two dozen cars in Northern California has finally been arrested. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Vernon Rayshaun Evans-Carmichael, 22, was taken into custody in January facing 27 felony charges of burglary and grand theft.
Police told the source that Evans-Carmichael has been breaking into cars for at least six months. He was initially arrested in October but was able to post bail at that time. Since his release, he has broken into cars at two separate locations before getting arrested a second time. He is currently being held in a Santa Clara jail on $350,000 bail.
Los Altos Police Agent Mark Thompson told the Los Altos Town Crier that, in addition to the initial felony charges, Evans-Carmichael the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office also filed for four additional burglary and two more grand theft charges. These were for several auto burglaries that he allegedly committed in mid-January.
According to the Chronicle, Evans-Carmichael generally targeted parked rental cars by smashing the windows. In the most recent car thefts, he stole electronics like laptops and camera equipment, which appears to be another pattern in his thefts.
For example, on Jan. 14, the Palo Alto police reported nine cars – seven of which were rentals – with smashed windows and electronics stolen from them, reported the Town Crier. At the time, the evidence turned up by the investigators pointed to Evans-Carmichael, who was also wanted for an outstanding bench warrant. He was then arrested on Jan. 16 in Contra Costa County and turned over to the Palo Alto police, where he was booked with another 17 felony charges.
Though Evans-Carmichael is currently behind bars, police are still warning area residents that similar thefts have continued. As recently as Jan. 27, eight vehicles were burglarized in a similar manner in downtown Palo Alto.
It seems that rental cars are a primary target, so those with "clear markings" that show the rental company logo or other indications that it is a leased car should be especially cautious. Police also stress the importance of not leaving valuables out on car seats or other place that are easily spotted from outside a vehicle.
"It's a crime of opportunity," Thompson said. "They're obviously just looking for anything they can take that is in plain view."
The Evans-Carmichael burglaries shine a light on the importance of proper security. Though you may feel that your valuables are safely secured in your car, a single smashed window can lead to the theft of your electronics or firearm. When traveling, it is especially important that you take the proper steps to keep your items safe so you aren't stuck hundreds of miles from home with no phone or cash. Because of this, be sure you are taking every possible step to ensure your belongings are safe while on the road. Invest in a portable safe, which is large enough to fit a hand gun, small electronics or other valuables, but small enough to take with you in the car. Look for one that features a cord that allows you to anchor it to the vehicle.
When it comes to electronics, be sure to use laptop locks. These will not only protect the computer from theft, but will also protect it from damage sustained from the jarring movement that comes with travel. Again, find a laptop security box that features a padlock mounting point so it can be secured to the vehicle.
Taking these steps will keep your belongings safe in case of a break in, and will have the added bonus of discouraging someone from attempting to rob your car in the first place.