November 17, 2005
Burglaries and thefts are up significantly from this time last year in Charlottesville and in Albemarle County.
Police say the high amount of thieves breaking into people's homes, stealing cars and snatching items from cars has them baffled.
About three weeks ago, Charlottesville police arrested two men they say are responsible for a series of break-ins.
They say those arrests have helped some but even with those men behind bars, the thefts continue.
"He came toward me and everything, and he [was] saying something about [money]: 'Money, money, I want money,'" explained George Taplin.
69-year-old Taplin was walking down Monticello Road Tuesday night when a mugger knocked him to the ground and beat him.
"He pulled something out of his pocket and said he had a pistol, a gun, and he said he was going to shoot me," said Taplin.
For some reason, Taplin refused to give up his wallet. "It was kind of scary, yeah," he said.
Neighbors heard Taplin?s screams and when they came out to help, the man ran off without any money and leaving Taplin pretty bloody.
'I'm glad I survived and I'm healing up," said Taplin
Taplin is not the only victim. Police say thefts are up across the city.
"Four weeks ago my neighbor's car got broken into and then about two weeks ago their shed got broken into," said Arta Walley
Residents in the area said they are taking more precautions.
"We've gotten more locks on our windows, we make sure to lock both locks on our doors," said Walley.
"If I hear foot steps in back of me, I'll turn and look. Let's put it that way," said Stephen Margulies.
"I don't know about carrying stuff--maybe mace or something to try and protect yourself," said Taplin.
Taplin said he hopes police catch his mugger before he attacks someone else. He explained that his attacker was a black male in his 20's around 5'8 and he was last seen running towards Grave Street. He then got in a small white car with another man and then they fled.
Charlottesville police say the amount of thefts in Charlottesville has increased from last year:
Burglaries are up 18 percent.
Theft from inside a motor vehicle is up 75 percent
The amount of cars stolen is up 35 percent.
Charlottesville police also tell us that October was the worst month for burglaries this year but, since they've made arrests, the amount of thefts for November has gone down. Charlottesville has not been the only area affected, however.
Albemarle County Police say burglaries in the county are up 25 percent from this time last year. So far there has been 209 burglaries in the county this year. There were only 155 last year.
Today the county announced the arrest of two men responsible for some of those thefts. County reps said their clearance rate is 21 percent, almost 10 percent higher than the national average.