WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – While parents watched their children playing soccer at Woronoco Field, on June 23 around 7:45 p.m., four of their vehicles were broken into.
Then, less than one week later on June 29, shortly before 8 p.m., two more cars were broken into at the same field.
All but one of the vehicles had their windows smashed, and police reported that the victims had personal belongings taken–mostly purses–from the vehicles. These break-ins aren’t new however, as police said that there has been a rise in this type of crime throughout the city during the past month, especially in the Woronoco Field area, where the parking lot is more secluded than most.
“We’ve seen an increase in the ‘smash and grab’ opportunities,” Capt. Michael McCabe of Westfield Police said of the break-ins, “which tells us that its the same people or they’re new to the area.”
Police do not have specific leads on who may be the culprit or culprits in these instances, but they do believe that they are all linked. However, until police know for certain that these crimes are connected, McCabe said that each case must be investigated separately.
But for most observers it may be seen as more than a coincidence.
McCabe said part of the problem is that the area that Woronoco Field is in is part of a large tract of land traditionally patrolled by one officer. This can mean that it may be difficult to be at Woronoco Field when an issue requiring police attention is happening in the same district, but miles away from the area of the break-ins.
Until there has been a resolution to the break-ins, McCabe said that those who park at Woronoco should secure their belongings and put them out of the sight of potential thieves. Additionally, all doors should be locked on vehicles, since he said a majority of motor vehicle breaking and entering crimes happen because of unlocked vehicles.
However, McCabe was also clear that he did not want to blame the victim.
“We aren’t looking to blame the victims for victimization,” McCabe said, “but it’s very clear what’s happening in these situations.”