Ah, yes! Spring is near! Time to head out for some fresh air, exercise, maybe a nice picnic in the park. It sounds perfect! Then your car gets broken into.

That's what is happening to an increased degree in Iowa City parks according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) says it has recently responded to a rash of vehicle burglaries. It seems it should go without saying, yet here we are: keep your doors locked and valuables out of sight. Or, just walk.

It's a bit stunning as they further note that 2 and a half months into the year, this is the second time they've had to warn about such a spike. In one instance, a gun was stolen out of a vehicle during the first series of break-ins in January.

There will be concerts, drive-in movies, farmers' markets, and festivals galore around Iowa City and Eastern Iowa, in general, this spring and summer, and the ICPD says it's pretty simple. Lock up so you don't get your car broken into, and to keep from getting the windows smashed, maybe leave high-ticket items at home, or hidden out of sight if you really need them along for the ride.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen says police aren't sure, but they're looking to see if there is a link between the January burglaries and the ones in recent days. Upwards of 22 vehicle break-ins have occurred since the start of 2022. ICPD Public Information Officer Lee Hermiston said, "sometimes people will work together and go into towns to rob vehicles as a group effort, so we’re looking if that’s the case right now. At this time, we don’t know if they’re all connected.”

The parks where the police have responded to the calls include City Park, Thornberry Dog Park (my dog would just shout down the burglar), and Scott Park, among other locations.

No arrests have yet been made.

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