Lilac/Live Oak thefts alarm neighbors

Crimes in neighborhood have one resident feeling “betrayed”
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A recent number of thefts in Auburn’s Lilac Lane/Live Oak Way neighborhood have residents angry and concerned about their property and safety. Lilac Lane resident Peggy McCray’s son’s 2006 black and silver Polaris Outlaw quad was stolen from the backyard of McCray’s residence at 7 a.m. June 14. “We had gone to the races and we used his quad as a push car,” McCray said. “We got home late and put the car away and left the quad out, and that is when it got stolen.” McCray, who has been living in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, said she was surprised to hear from other neighbors about thefts after she posted signs about the quad. “Unless you put a sign or something out, people just have no idea other people are getting ripped off,” McCray said. McCray said she’s been getting a lot of emotional feedback from her fellow residents. “(They are expressing) a lot of anger,” she said. “Our nice little community is just being invaded. People are wanting to arm themselves is what they are saying.” On Thursday, Brian Slade, McCray’s neighbor, noticed two men walking in his driveway. While Slade said the men didn’t have a chance to steal anything, he had good reason to feel alarmed. “These guys were bold,” Slade said. “They walked down my driveway. They are not my family, and they are scruffy-looking kids from down the neighborhood. It’s not the first time I’ve caught young people in my driveway.” Last year Slade’s daughter’s bicycle was stolen from his property, but later recovered. Slade said the bicycle had been repainted when he discovered another youth in the neighborhood riding it. Slade said after these incidents neighbors started trying to protect one another. “It just breaks my heart,” he said. “It just sucks we have to worry about this. I’m not going to let my family get harmed anymore. I’m not going to let my neighbors get harmed. We all look out for each other.” Halley Andrews, who has lived on Live Oak Way for four years, said her brother’s 1996 Toyota Tacoma truck was stolen two months ago. The truck was eventually found, but had been completely stripped, Andrews said. Andrews said she doesn’t like the fact that someone is so easily stealing from neighbors’ yards. “It makes me angry,” Andrews said. “There is someone obviously familiar with our street who is going around and taking our things. It’s sort of zero tolerance with us if you are going to come take our stuff. (I feel) kind of betrayed by the community in a way.” Andrews said she has talked with Placer County Sheriff’s deputies who say they patrol the area often, and neighbors are keeping law-enforcement officials informed. “There is a lot of concern,” Andrews said. “The people I know who have had something stolen have talked to the cops. They are uncomfortable living in their own house, because someone is going to come and take (their) stuff.” Dena Erwin, Placer County Sheriff Department spokeswoman, said thieves don’t normally work too hard to steal. “If you have anything of value, lock it up,” Erwin said. “Make it as hard as possible for thieves by using locks and keeping valuables out of sight. If it takes too much effort to steal your items, thieves generally move on to easier prey.” Neighbors are definitely in communication with each other more, Andrews said. “If we see anything weird we talk to each other about it,” she said. Officer Dave Montijo of the California Highway Patrol, said residents should try to make their vehicles as inaccessible as possible to lessen temptation for those who might steal automobiles and eliminate safety risks for nearby children. “What we suggest, we always suggest to the general public, is to not leave your vehicle unlocked, not leave your keys in your vehicle, not leave your car running,” Montijo said. “You would be surprised who is walking around in your neighborhood.” Montijo said neighbors should watch out for each other as much as possible. “All we can suggest is people keep close track of their belongings, and keep them properly secured and keep an eye out for your neighbors,” Montijo said. “It’s always good to get to know your neighbors, not just for getting friendly, but helping them keep their valuables, and maybe they will help you keep your valuables.” Reach Bridget Jones at