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Crime & Safety

Thief seen trying to break into cars at Topeka auto shop



TOPEKA, Kan. – Doug Rosencutter, owner of Doug’s Service Center in Topeka, said he’s upset after a thief tried to break into vehicles outside his shop early Sunday morning.

Rosencutter was alerted about the attempted break-in by a person driving by, who sent him a message on Facebook.

“I called the police department, they met me here [the shop], we looked at our cameras and this guy was just walking around the parking lot, tried to get in a couple of cars,” Rosencutter said.

All of the vehicles were locked and no damage was done.

However, this is not the first time Rosencutter has experienced something like this. He has had multiple catalytic converters stolen from the cars at his shop, he said, and last year a thief broke into his shop and stole car keys from inside.

“It upsets me because I do everything I can to make the cars safe while they’re here,” Rosencutter said. “Then I have people like that that’s just trying to do damage or stealing, whatever they’re doing.”

There was an uptick of vehicle break-ins and thefts in Shawnee County at the beginning of the year, according to Shawnee County and Topeka law enforcement.

“It just kind of comes in spurts. We’ll see certain hot spots or certain areas get hit at different times,” said Deputy Abigail Christian with the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office.

Law enforcement asked people to take extra steps to ensure their safety.

“If you can park your vehicle in a well-lit area, if you can park it closer to your house the better,” said Lt. Manuel Munoz with the Topeka Police Department. “Obviously, remove anything that’s in your vehicle of value, lock your vehicle.”

Rosencutter’s patience is running low, as he worries these crimes could begin to take an effect on the trust bestowed upon him by his customers when they hand over their keys.

“It just aggravates me,” Rosencutter said.

The Topeka Police Department is investigating the situation at the service center as of Tuesday. They are asking people to be cautious and report anyone or anything that looks suspicious.