Middlebury Police are urging residents to take extra precautions after a series of smash and grab robberies of women’s purses recently.
On Jan. 29, police received a report of four cars broken into in the parking lot of Blast Fitness, formerly Bally’s, at 930 Straits Turnpike. Women’s purses were stolen in all three incidents, which were reported at 7:50 p.m. All of the cars broken into were in the rear parking lot of the building.
Police say that women going to the gym are being watched going in and if they don’t put their purses in the trunk, burglars figure they must be in the car, so they smash the window and take the purses, Acting Chief Richard Wildman said. Also, he said, burglars often look to see if women hit a switch inside their cars to pop the trunk and will gain access that way.
The best way to combat these type of break-ins, he said, is to not bring a lot of items to the gym.
“We tell women to just bring their IDs, their gym cards and to not carry cash,” he said.
He said this is the first time in about a year that cars had been broken into at the gym parking lot. He said smash and grabs are not uncommon here or in other municipalities, though.
“We see them a lot on the parking lot to the town walkway or in the Hop Brook parking lot,” he said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also reported several break-ins during daylight hours at the Hop Brook parking lot. Police are investigating those on top of the gym break-ins.
Police also caution people to not keep valuables in plain sight and to always lock doors to vehicles.
Anyone with information about the break-ins is urged to call the Middlebury Police Department at 203.577.4028.