PRINEVILLE, OR -- With a string of thefts in the Prineville area, local police are working with other law enforcement officers in the area to identify the culprits.
Sergeant Troy Wiles of the Prineville Police Department says it's easy for criminals to travel to all the local communities, so it's important for all the agencies to work together. In the meantime, Wiles suggests citizens change their habits. "We're encouraging people, although this is a small community, and everybody, for the most part, knows everyone, however, in today's day and age, things are growing, and obviously, the result of that is some unwanted crimes are occurring, so we're encouraging everybody to lock their doors and leave lights on, keep shrubberies down. This time of year, especially, there's a lot of packages being delivered, and being left out, so do what you can to be vigilant."
Wiles says until they catch the culprits, it's hard to know the motive. "I think it's probably an opportunity thing that's occurring. Someone or somebodies have found out that this method is working for them and they're continuing to do it, the problem is, it's not going to last for very long, they will get caught. What's fueling it? Are drugs related? Based on my training experience, that's usually a common factor, but you can't say for sure until you get those people into custody."
Two Crook County businesses have had their ATMs stolen in the last few weeks, and there have been several cases of daytime housebreaking, but Wiles says they're following leads and hoping to make an arrest soon. He says the benefit to living in a small town is that neighbors know each other and part of Prineville's community spirit comes in helping each other protect their homes and businesses. He suggests paying extra attention to what's happening in your neighborhood. "The biggest tool we have at the Prineville Police Department is the community. There's hundreds of thousands of eyeballs out there that may see something that seems insignificant, but a lot of times it helps out quite a bit."
Wiles says Prineville PD is following some leads and working with law enforcement agencies all over Central Oregon to track down those responsible for the recent crime spree.
UPDATE11/30/2017: Prineville Police Department is listing Alysa Bennight, 21, as connected to more than a dozen of the home burglaries. She allegedly has stolen a Ford truck and is on the run. Anyone with information is asked to call the Prineville Police Department.