CONWAY, Ark. – Conway police are urging park-goers to be careful this weekend after a series of car break-ins at several parks. One of the victims says he was just a few yards away coaching his baseball team and didn’t hear or see a thing.
“Bad stuff happens,” Brad Judd said hours after his car was broken into at Curtis Walker park. “You can’t let it affect your day.” Among the foul balls and home runs of the USSSA fall championships, thieves were waiting to take a swing at cars windows. “Not only are you worried about baseball and keeping 12-year-olds in line,” Judd said, “you’re worried about what’s happening with your vehicle while you’re doing that.” Judd and his team, the Outlaws, traveled to Conway for a state baseball tournament. But less than a half hour after arriving, two cars were broken into just feet away from parents and players.
“One of the other parents went out and noticed their vehicle was broken into,” said Judd. “One of them hollered at me, and ours had been broken into, too.” He says no one in the crowd noticed anything was wrong, until someone went to grab something out of their car. “There was a director that was sitting at a table, less than 30 yards away,” Judd explained. He believes those responsible knew that to look for, and were targeting specific cars. “They got the purse only, they left everything else and they were gone.”
According to the Conway Police Department, break-ins were a trend this past weekend. LaTresha Woodruff with CPD explained, “There were about 3 parks that have been hit over the course of the weekend, [and] about 4 different breaking and entering of vehicles.” Police believe the criminals picked parks for a reason. “For this area,” Woodruff said, “it’s targeted simply because of the sheer number of people who are out there.”
The department says the easiest way to protect yourself is to take precautions. “Keep those valuables out of sight,” Woodruff said. “Your purse, your laptops, your cell phones.” And Judd and his team will be keeping an extra eye out from now on. “I usually coach third base,” Judd said, “so I call myself paying attention…I just try to pay attention to what’s going on around me, and I just missed it somehow.”
Conway police are still investigating these incidents. They encourage everyone to lock their car doors and keep valuables out of sight and hidden away.