standing Westerly police 2

WESTERLY — A 17-year-old is facing charges after the police said he admitted entering several unlocked cars overnight on Monday.

Westerly Police Capt. Steven Johnson said Monday that the incident is the first of what will likely be several complaints as the weather gets warmer. In the vast majority of Westerly's car burglary cases, Johnson said, perpetrators enter vehicles that are left unlocked.

"We are fortunate here in the sense that very rarely do we have cases where the car is broken into. In most instances, the doors are left unlocked and items taken are left easily accessible," Johnson said. "We are asking residents take an extra moment to make sure their cars are locked and valuables are not in plain view, especially overnight."

According to Westerly police, the Westerly boy was arrested Monday after a caller reported suspicious activity around 2:30 a.m. in the area of Maple Avenue, and gave a description of the suspect to the police, Johnson said.

An officer found the boy walking along Elm Street. The young man admitted that he had "entered four cars" but had not found anything, the police said. The vehicle owners did not report any missing items, according to a police report. Johnson did note that a couple of the cars were found with doors ajar and the trunk was still open on the of the vehicles.

The boy is facing one count of tampering with a motor vehicle and was released into the custody of a parent.

Johnson encouraged residents to never keep valuables in the car when they can avoid it and to double check that they've locked their car when parking. He said residents should immediately report suspicious activity to the police.

"In this case, an early call helped put a stop to the behavior before anything was stolen," Johnson said. "We would much rather get a call and find out it's nothing than to hear about it the next morning from victims."

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