A THIEF IN THE KNOW

Somewhere in the streets of Dallas there lurks a smirking car thief who has suddenly become both a Caddie-driver and a veritable resource center of information on crime prevention.

This outlaw not only made off with a 1979 diesel Cadillac owned by City Councilman Rolan Tucker, he (or she) also acquired a pile of crime prevention literature stashed in Tucker’s back seat-enough to educate a cell-block of prisoners.

Recently Tucker traveled to San Diego, where he and other Dallas civic leaders studied that city’s efforts to wipe out burglaries and thefts using a neighborhood watch program and their cartoon mascot, “Boris the Burglar.” San Diego’s city leaders claim they’ve chopped their city’s burglary rate in half. Tucker wants the same for Big D.

Tucker is also one of the council members who voiced support for a city ordinance that would fine people for leaving keys in unattended automobiles. Now the councilman can advise from experience. The day before he was to present the San Diego research on crime prevention to the Dallas City Council, he stopped to get gas at the intersection of Preston and Northwest Highway. After he filled his car with gas, Tucker walked into the station to pay for it. And while he signed on the dotted line, a thief ducked behind the wheel of his Caddie, turned the keys and drove off into the sunset. Gone were the car, the pamphlets and a slide projector ready for the meeting.

Tucker says reporters from all over the country have been calling him about the incident, and he hopes all the publicity will serve as a warning to everyone.

According to the FBI, more than half of all auto thefts happen because people leave their keys in their car. Eighty percent of all stolen automobiles had been left unlocked and 40 percent had been left with the keys right in the ignition. According to statistics, more than 1 million cars were vandalized and stolen last year in the United States.

But, as they say, experience is the best teacher.

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