Police will mark an SUV third-row seat at no charge

DOWNEY - The Downey Police Department has launched "Operation Save our Seats" in response to a growing number of thefts targeting expensive SUV third-row seats.At no cost to vehicle owners, Downey police will etch a vehicle's license plate number onto the third-row seat in an inconspicuous place. The etching will help police return the seat should it ever be stolen. High-resale value have spurred thieves to target third-row seats, which are often re-sold at swap meets or online, said Sgt. Brian Baker of the Downey Police Department. Third-row seats can fetch up to $2,000 and can be removed in less than a minute, making them attractive to thieves, Baker said. Police officers will etch the seats March 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the police department's west parking lot. Police are specifically targeting newer model Chevy Tahoes, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades but all vehicles with removable third-row seats can attend. The etching process takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Appointments are requested by contacting Detective Ethan Roberts at (562) 904-2334 or eroberts@downeyca.org. Police also offered tips on how to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of auto-related theft: *Never leave your car running and unattended, including warming it up in the driveway on cold mornings, even if only "for a moment"; *Place items out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously once you arrive. This includes packages and gym bags; *Park in well-lit areas; *If possible, always park in a driveway when arriving home, not on a public street; *Lock all doors even if you plan to only be gone for a brief time; *Set any alarm or anti-theft device; *Never leave the vehicle registration, documents or checkbook in the car; *Never place hidden keys in the car; *If you have high-end audio or video equipment installed in your vehicle, keep it covered and out of site when your car is parked. This is especially relevant in shopping centers and apartment complexes; If you see suspicious activity, immediately call Downey Police at (562) 861-0771. If it's an emergency, call 911. For more information on how to prevent auto-related crimes, call Detective Ethan Roberts at (562) 904-2334 or click the "crime tips" tab at downeypd.org.

********** Published: March 22, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 49