A rash of car burglaries and arsons remain unsolved in Ames. Police Commander Jason Tuttle says they’ve all happened in the same north side neighborhood since Labor Day weekend.
“We’ve had 30-plus vehicle burglaries over the last three weeks,” Tuttle said. Five of the vehicles that were burglarized were then set on fire.
The latest such fire happened this Tuesday morning. “Our concern with that one was that it was very close to a garage and it melted some of the siding and garage door,” Tuttle said. “So, our concern is that these cars are going to be on fire and catch a structure on fire.” Police officers responding to the area Tuesday morning saw the suspect, but lost him.
“We got in a foot pursuit, but unfortunately we didn’t catch him that night,” Tuttle said. Police believe the same person, a white male in his late teens to early 20s, is responsible in all of the cases. “The pattern that we’ve seen in the burglaries is similar. It’s almost like they leave a calling card with the evidence they leave behind and the things we’re finding at the scene,” Tuttle said.
Ames residents are being asked to call police if they see anything unusual and take steps to protect themselves from becoming victims.
“In almost all of these car burglaries, the vehicles have been left unlocked,” Tuttle said. “So, we really want people to take that proactive step by locking their vehicles and taking anything of value out of the vehicle. If they can park under a light or a well lit area, that would be helpful.”