Vehicle thefts unify neighbors

LAWRENCEVILLE - A recent rash of vehicle break-ins has mobilized neighbors in one Lawrenceville subdivision.

Sometime between Monday night and the crack of dawn Tuesday, covert thieves broke in six cars belonging to residents of Old Peachtree Townhomes, a Lawrenceville enclave a stone's throw from the Gwinnett Braves' stadium.

The thieves targeted locked cars and were nimble enough to not trigger vehicle alarms, according to one victim. They lifted briefcases, laptops, cameras, GPS systems and - perhaps worst of all - garage door openers.

"It could have been kids," reasoned victim Tania Tanner. "Yet I doubt they're that proficient in getting into (Cadillac) Escalades and such without tripping the alarm."

Tanner, worried the thefts could signal a larger trend, contacted police and filed a report, along with fellow victims, she said.

Then she and two neighbors went a step further.

"I rang doorbells and posted fliers at all 240 residences (in the neighborhood) last night," Tanner said. "Just letting our neighbors know what had happened."

Tanner said she lost a briefcase and laptop containing three years' worth of pictures of her young daughter.

Gwinnett police were unable to provide further information about the thefts late Wednesday. Department spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said he wasn't aware of suspect descriptions or arrests made in the case.