Denton and Corinth police are investigating a rash of car burglaries they believe are connected to one group of unidentified juveniles.
In Denton, 30 vehicles have been burglarized and 14 have been stolen since April 1, according to Denton police spokesman Bryan Cose. In Corinth, 15 vehicles have been burglarized in the same time frame, police said.
Cash, pistols, purses, navigation systems, portable speakers and other miscellaneous items have been taken from unlocked vehicles in both cities. All the stolen vehicles were left unlocked with the keys inside, Cose said.
Cose said three to six juveniles are walking or biking around neighborhoods in the middle of the night looking for unlocked cars with valuables inside.
"Many times, burglaries of vehicles are simply crimes of opportunity," Cose said. "These suspects are walking around and they're not forcing entry. They're taking the easy target. Don't be an easy target."
He said north and east Denton have been primarily affected by the uptick in burglaries and thefts. Some of the affected residential streets include Mistywood Lane, Crestwood Place and Brandywine Street. Vehicles have also been stolen from Duchess Drive, the 1400 block of Teasley Lane and the 1000 block of Dallas Drive, he said.
Cose said all but four of the stolen vehicles have been recovered. But he said the thieves appear to be driving the vehicles around before abandoning them at random locations.
"In some of the cases the vehicles were found unlocked when they were abandoned with the keys missing," he said.
He said police have grainy surveillance footage of the suspects, but authorities have not been able to identify them or provide a description.
Lt. Jimmie Gregg, a spokesman for the Corinth Police Department, said about 90 percent of the recent vehicle burglaries in Corinth have been concentrated in the Fairview West neighborhood on the southwest side of town.
"I would encourage [residents] to call if they see [the potential suspects] walking around in groups after hours in the neighborhood," Gregg said.
Pamela Navarro, a 27-year-old who lives on Goliad Court in the Fairview West neighborhood, said she accidentally left her Chevrolet SUV unlocked last week before a portable speaker was stolen. She said almost all of her neighbors on the cul-de-sac had various items stolen from their vehicles.
Now, the whole block is under video surveillance, she said.
"For 20 years, nothing like this has happened here," said Navarro, who said she is staying at her parents' home. "It definitely made us jumpy"
JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.