Gates don’t always hold back crime |

Gates don’t always hold back crime

A rash of vehicle thefts and burglaries at Lake of the Pines and Lake Wildwood has law enforcement officials warning residents of gated communities that they are not immune from crime.

Four Lake of the Pines families woke up Wednesday morning to find their vehicles stolen. Two other vehicle tamperings and a burglary were reported from the south county subdivision, as well.

Officials are not sure if those incidents are linked to burglaries and thefts of cars and mail in Lake Wildwood over the holidays, but they are looking into it.

CHP Officer Todd Labadie said Thursday a pickup that was stolen at Lake of the Pines had the keys left in it. Labadie said many of the vehicles stolen in Nevada County have keys left in them.

The pickup was abandoned several blocks from its theft point after a load of lumber atop it shifted. No one has been apprehended in the Lake of the Pines thefts and authorities are seeking the other three vehicles, Labadie said.

“We’re on the hunt, and we’ll take any help we can get.”

Lake of the Pines Director of Public Safety Bob Markussen Thursday said he constantly has to remind residents to lock their doors and cars.

“It’s a relatively crime-free county, but it’s not crime free,” said Markussen, a former Los Angeles Police officer. Subdivision cameras have not established if the thieves hid the three vehicles or drove them out, but it’s likely they left with them, Markussen said.

Capt. Dave Baxley of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said investigators have been at Lake of the Pines trying to find if there are any links to the Lake Wildwood incidents. No connection has been found yet, but Baxley said gated community residents need to be careful.

“You don’t have to drive in the gate (to commit a crime),” Baxley said. “You can walk down the fence line and jump it if you know you’re going to steal a car.”

A red Camaro that was stolen from Lake Wildwood in December may have been found in Lincoln early Thursday morning, but authorities have not confirmed if it was the same car.

Lincoln Police Sgt. Terry Kennedy said an officer saw the Camaro in a convenience store parking lot about 1 a.m., and he “had a hunch” it might be stolen. The officer pulled in behind the car and linked it to a Penn Valley theft, Kennedy said.

But the driver of the vehicle fled on foot from the scene, Kennedy said. A police dog was called in but the suspect was not found.

Kennedy said the Lincoln officer had a good idea of the suspect’s identity and will review a number of photographs to try and identify him.

missing vehicles

The California Highway Patrol said the following vehicles are still missing from Lake of the Pines. If you see them, call 273-4415.

• A 1994 white Honda Accord, with California plate 4KXW861.

• A 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with California plate 4NNZ943.

• A 2000 brown Ford 259 large-cab pickup truck, California plate 6Y24441.

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