WOOD RIVER - The Wood River Police Department today urged residents to lock their cars when they are out of the vehicle. The City of Wood River has adopted an ordinance making it a violation if you are caught tampering with a vehicle. The citation is subject to a mandatory court appearance and a $500 fine.
"With many home security cameras in the area, the police department is frequently contacted when a homeowner has caught someone trying the door handles on their vehicle, assuming it is someone looking for unlocked vehicles to commit a theft," Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells said. "Once they find the vehicle is locked they move on to the next vehicle.
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"Many people will argue if it is better to lock your vehicle or keep it unlocked. We have no law to govern what you do pertaining to locking your vehicle, so it is up to each individual. We always recommend locking your vehicle. There is no state law on the books pertaining to someone 'checking your door handle.
"The new Wood River ordinance was put in place to deter anyone from tampering with your personal property. It’d be hard for someone to come up with a legal reason to be walking around in the middle of the night trying door handles. Keep in mind if someone is caught entering your vehicle they are subject to a more severe criminal charge.
"The chief also said the person in the photo remains unidentified. "We are attempting to identify the person in this photo to determine why they were trying the door handle on a vehicle that does not belong to them, on January 3, 2023, around midnight, in the 200 block of East Ferguson Avenue," the chief said. "Any assistance is appreciated and thank you in advance."
Contact the Wood River Police at (618) 251-3113.