Neighborhoods in Greenwood, Johnson County plagued by rash of car break-ins

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind.– Residents in several Greenwood and Johnson County subdivisions have reported more than a dozen thefts from vehicles that could all be the work of the same thief.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department took twelve calls over the weekend about car break-ins from people in the Willow Lakes and Highland Park subdivisions.  Multiple residents reported car windows smashed and items taken or rifled through in their cars.  Most items included electronics and small amounts of money, but one resident reported an autopsy report for a recently-deceased family member was stolen.  Another resident reported her handgun stolen from her car.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Department believe the thefts could be the work of a man who is also wanted by Greenwood Police.  Residents in the Woodfield, Green Valley, Pines of Greenwood, and Southern Pines reported break-ins or attempted thefts in the last week. Residents in Barrington and Tuscany Village also reported a would-be thief captured on home surveillance cameras.

Chief Deputy Randy Werden says the suspect captured on home security cameras appears to be more than a simple smash-and-grab thief.

“He’s got the equipment that he needs to do what he’s wanting to do,” Werden said.  “He’s got a plan, it seems like, that he’s going to follow.  And he’s stuck to that so far.”

Home security video from July 19 shows a man suspected of being involved in several car break-ins.

Several home security videos show a man wearing a large backpack, hooded sweatshirt, gloves and some kind of mask.  The man is seen walking through yards, ducking behind bushes and peering into cars. 

As recently as Monday morning, a woman in Oldefield Estates reported seeing a man matching that description using a flashlight to look into neighbors’ cars.

“He’s going house to house, car to car,” Werden said.  “And if he sees something in the car that he thinks he wants, he’s going to get in that car regardless if it’s locked or not.”

In one video, a man is seen using some kind of tool to break the corner of a car windshield to get inside the vehicle without setting off any alarm.

“We’ve had not only windows shattered or broke, but he’s also taken them where he’s taken them out in once piece,” Werden said.

Several photos of broken windshields also show pry marks along the side of the window frame.

Last Tuesday, John Lewchanin was in the garage of his Barrington West home when he saw a man walking down the sidewalk with a backpack on.

“But then I got to thinking, school’s not in yet,” And then he turned his head and he had a black mask on and I thought oh, he’s up to no good.”

Lewchanin says he locked eyes with the man, who immediately ran off.

“I gave him my Clint Eastwood stare and headed after him, and that’s when you see on the video he changed direction immediately and ran down this little alleyway here and across the street,” he said.

Chris Loveless says a handful of change was taken from his wife’s car, and his next door neighbor had items stolen from their car.  He hopes people living in the area will keep a close eye out for suspicious activity and keep home security systems activated.

“There’s enough vigilant people here in our neighborhoods to talk and communicate with social media that we can get this guy out of our neighborhood and where he belongs,” Loveless said.

Werden says extra patrols are running in neighborhoods near the criminal activity.  He’s asking residents to avoid keeping items in their cars, and park in garages if possible.  He also says detectives are monitoring posts on social media sites like Next Door for any new reports, photos and videos that surface.