Smash-and-grab thieves targeting cars at Kennedy Dog Park - The Denver Channel

DENVER — Thieves are apparently targeting dog owners at Kennedy Dog Park, breaking into cars while the owners focus on Fido.

Rob Reuteman, an adjunct professor at CSU, told Denver7 he saw broken glass on three separate occasions, while exercising his dogs during the winter break.

“Last week,” he said, “I noticed over two different days, three piles of glass on the ground, indicating a smash-and-grab.”

Reuteman said he went back to the park on Thursday and saw two cars side by side, with their windows smashed.

“The owners were standing next to them,” he said. “In one case, a young woman was crying.”

Reuteman said the driver had left her purse with her wallet, debit cards and driver’s license in the car and when she came back, they were gone.

“She was just weeping that she’d been wiped out,” he said.

Crime Map Shows Ebb & Flow

The Denver Police crime map shows two reported thefts at Kennedy Dog Park in December. The January heists aren’t showing up yet, which could mean they weren’t reported, or are too recent.

From January 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018

2 Thefts Dec. 2018
1 Theft Oct. 2018
1 Theft Sept. 2018
2 Thefts Aug. 2018
1 Theft Feb. 2018
1 Theft Jan. 2018
4 Thefts Nov. 2017
1 Theft Oct. 2017
1 Theft Aug. 2017
1 Theft Apr. 2017


“It’s obviously kind of scary,” said Chelsea Hicks, an owner who brought her dog to the park Saturday afternoon. “You come here to have your pet play, you’re not really thinking about what’s going on with your car.”

Hicks told Denver7 she sometimes leaves her purse under her seat, but always takes her credit card and ID.

Troy and Nina McAvoy said they, too, noticed broken glass in the parking lot last week.

“If we have anything valuable, we usually put it in the glovebox,” Mr. McAvoy said. “We come her for a purpose, so we don’t bring a lot of valuable stuff with us.”

The city has posted signs at the entrance to the “off-leash” area, warning drivers to not leave valuables in their car.

Warning Sign

Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman said drivers can lessen the likelihood of being targeted by always making sure valuables are not left in the car, especially in plain sight, that windows are rolled up all the way, and that doors are locked.

Suspicious Driver

Two dog owners, responding to Reuteman’s post about the break-ins on Nextdoor, wrote that they’d seen a man, without a dog, looking at cars in the parking lot. They wrote that he had a silver sedan with Texas plates.
Schepman said anyone who notices something suspicious at that dog park should call police.

Other Parks Targeted

Other dog parks have been targeted too.

Last May, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies out to patrol the Glendale Farm Open Space off-leash area, after receiving several reports about car break-ins.

While responding to Reuteman’s Nextdoor post about the break-ins, another dog owner wrote that her car was one of six targeted within a 20-minute period last November at the Cherry Creek dog off-leash area.

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