DUNCAN, Okla._Police said someone stole a woman's car and destroyed it after taking it for a joy ride and they're growing even more concerned after car burglars vandalized nearly two dozen other cars just this month alone in three different neighborhoods. The thieves are stealing whatever they can get their hands on.
Given some of the patterns springing up across the city map, officers say it's definitely possible that they're related. No arrests have been made, and until they are, one victim who had her car stolen says she'll be more cautious.
"I just never would have dreamed that someone would walk up and just take it," said Gayla Cohen, victim.
It was a chilly yet typical grocery run for Gayla Cohen in the early morning on January 5th. She said frigid temps caused her to rush her loads of bags back and forth from the car to her home.
"And then my mother came home from church and she said 'oh I guess Gayla's gone.' and I said, 'no I'm right here.' and she said, 'well your car's not out there,'" recalled Cohen.
Someone had jumped in Cohen's unlocked Buick and was gone within seconds. The mystery criminal drove the car all the way to the northwest part of town where they hit a large curb, totaling the car. Police said it's a pattern that's becoming all too consistent.
"They're moving around and hitting the same area on one night, but they're moving around from place to place. Car burglaries are always an issue, but when you start seeing patterns like that, one area, one night, it makes you kind of suspicious," said Detective Dustin Smith.
Detective Smith also said the biggest targets in town are cars that are parked on the streets and away from homes. Culprits are checking each one to see who's unlocked, and who isn't.
"People have called saying their car has been gone through and nothing's missing, they didn't want to file a report, so I'm sure there's more that we don't know about," said Detective Smith.
As for the ones they do know of, they know the situation could get dangerous.
"They'll start by checking unlocked cars, and then they'll go to breaking windows out, and eventually they'll just steal cars and break into houses and do the same thing," said Detective Smith.
It's a lesson that Cohen now knows all too well.
"People around here just need to wake up. The world is different nowadays," she said.
Detective Smith says his best piece of advice to protect yourself is simple, lock your doors and keep valuables out of sight at all times. While no arrests have been made, police have collected blood that was left behind in several burglaries after the suspect cut himself after bashing in one of the car's windows. Police hope DNA will lead them to the burglars.
If you have any information on these crimes, contact Duncan Police at 580-255-2112.