OLYMPIA – Olympia and Lacey police arrested a man Wednesday night for allegedly breaking into a “bait car” at the Westfield Capital mall parking lot and taking electronics, officials said.
Mario Vasquez was arrested on suspicion of second-degree theft and was booked into the Thurston County Jail, police said.
Olympia Police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said the operation is part of an ongoing effort by the Lacey and Olympia police departments to fight an increase in vehicle break-ins.
“We’ve actually had a surge in vehicle prowls up at the mall and in the mall area,” Bjornstad said.
People do not realize that many car break-ins occur during the day, and that it only takes five to seven seconds for someone to break a car window, reach inside, take something valuable and leave, Olympia Police Lt. Jim Costa said Thursday.
Bjornstad and Lacey Lt. Jim Mack said police operations involving bait cars will be ongoing at shopping areas in both cities in the coming weeks.
During the operations, bait vehicles are left with items that might be attractive to vehicle prowlers, and when they are broken into, police are waiting to make an arrest.
During Wednesday night’s operation, police said they discovered that Vasquez’s vehicle contained stolen items from two other vehicle break-ins that also occurred Wednesday night at the mall.
Mack said Lacey also “has been experiencing an extreme rash of vehicle prowls.”
He reminded people to always lock their vehicles and to not leave valuables visible and unattended, even when the doors are locked.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5427 firstname.lastname@example.org