Fairview police seek help to identify car theif
FAIRVIEW—Recently, Fairview City played unwilling host to a series of auto burglaries that investigators believe to be connected.
In just one of the estimated seven cars subject to theft over July 22-23, more than $4,000, electronics and shotguns were stolen. Fairview City police have requested that any information on the suspect, whose picture was posted on the Fairview City Facebook page, be called into the police department.
All of the cars in question were unlocked at the time of theft, according to Fairview City Police Chief Bob Bingham. There have been no tips reported on the suspect so far in the investigation.
On the night of the burglaries, Rachel Hendrickson was watching city fireworks until past midnight with her family. Hendrickson said that, because she usually feels safe in Fairview, she had left her car, which was parked in front of her mother-in-law’s house near 400 N. 100 East, unlocked overnight.
Her seven dogs, housed in the truck’s insulated camper shell, did not bark while the man stole two shotguns, $500 cash, Hendrickson’s wallet and her Cannon T5 camera from the vehicle. The pistol on Hendrickson’s backseat, various chargers and her son’s tablet on the front passenger seat remained untouched.
Hendrickson first noticed something was off on Sunday morning, following the night of the fireworks.
“My husband was letting the dog out, and I noticed napkins [from the car] lying on the road,” Hendrickson said. “I opened the door, and the center console had been gone through. I looked in the glove box and my wallet was gone.”
By the time Hendrickson had checked in with her debit and credit card companies, two unauthorized transactions had cleared before a block could be placed on her cards.
According to Hendrickson, the man tried four more times to place various purchases costing $500 to $600. The suspect had also attempted to purchase a flight for $290 from Orbitz and had successfully purchased a Spotify music subscription with Hendrickson’s debit card.
“If I was going to steal a wallet I would be in a pretty desperate situation,” Hendrickson said, attempting to analyze the situation. “I’d be buying food for my kids.”
Hendrickson said that there were four other cars parked near hers with guns and money in them. Unfortunately, she said, hers had been the only unlocked vehicle in the area.
Chief Bingham said that while it is not uncommon for the city to be host to sporadic burglaries, this particular case is unusual due to the number of thefts in such a short time span.
“This one was kind of a string of them all at once,” Bingham said. “I’ve never had this many at one time.”
The same Sunday that Hendrickson realized her car had been broken into, Tyler Schlappi was realizing his CentraCom company car had been stolen.
Schlapphi, who is a sales representative for CentraCom, had left the car keys on the floor of the driver’s side after moving the vehicle to make room for family. The car was left unlocked.
“Once I found the car was gone I obviously went and tried to backtrack – Did I leave it at Walmart and have my wife pick me up? Or [had I] gotten the oil changed?” Schlappi said.
Once Schlappi realized the car had been stolen, he reached out to law enforcement. Chief Bingham told Schlappi that another car had been stolen just four blocks from his home as well.
Schlappi said that he just did not question it when the population of Fairview nearly tripled for the holiday celebrations. “It was a busy holiday weekend with everyone’s friends and family over,” he said.
There is no information on where Schlappi’s company vehicle might have ended up at the time of press.
“From there [taking the issue to law enforcement] it’s just a waiting game,” Schlappi said. “As far as lessons learned, I made the mistake of leaving the keys on the floor.”
Fairview police request that any information on the suspect be reported to Fairview City at 427-3858 or 427-3535.