Monett police officers had a busy weekend following a rash of car thefts and burglaries.
According to Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder, suspects plundered four vehicles over the weekend, stealing several items, including a loaded firearm.
"The weather is getting warmer, and we are getting a lot more reports of property damage and thefts," Schweder said.
On Friday, April 20, a man called law enforcement officers to report someone had taken a wallet from his vehicle in the 200 block of Fifth Street.
A witness to the crime stated the suspect was a thin Caucasian male, about five-feet, eight-inches tall, wearing blue jeans and a brown hooded jacket.
Another resident reported having decorative lights stolen from his flower bed in the 300 block of Cale Street. The solar powered lights are shaped like a butterfly, dragonfly and hummingbird.
A clerk at Dollar General Store on Broadway also reported three teenaged males entering the store and shoplifting several food items. They left the store without being apprehended.
A car parked in the 200 block of Fourth Street was damaged on Friday night when an unknown person or persons broke the back window.
Officers also responded to a report of a 14-year-old female being assaulted on Broadway Street by four other girls on Friday night. The case remains under investigation by officials with the Juvenile Office.
Another attempted car theft was reported at Wellbaum's Tires on Broadway Street. Store personnel reported a 1994 Suburban SUV had been broken into and the ignition and steering column damaged by someone suspected of trying to steal the vehicle.
A man called the police department on Friday night to report he had left a loaded pistol in the floorboard of his vehicle, which was parked in the 500 block of Sixth Street, while he was visiting a friend. When he returned to the unlocked vehicle a short time later, the gun and approximately $40 in change was missing.
On April 21, a passenger van from Arc of the Ozarks was stolen from the lot at 1010 Old Airport Rd. The theft occurred sometime Friday night, and the van was recovered on Saturday, having been wrecked and abandoned on Farm Road 2220 near Verona.
"The vehicle was badly damaged," Schweder said.
That same night, vandals broke into the concession stand at Monett's North Park, stealing candy, chips and drinks. The door was damaged in the incident.
On Monday, April 23, two people were seen at Dos Amigos Auto Sales at 900 E. Broadway. Two suspects broke a window in an office and entered the building, setting off the alarm.
A witness said the suspects fled in a green car that was subsequently reported as stolen from the 300 block of Eighth Street. The owner of the car said it was left unlocked with the keys inside. It was later recovered on Farm Road 1090 north of Monett.
"Once again, we are having several reports of car thefts and stealing from cars," Schweder said. "When people leave the keys in an unlocked car, there is a pretty good chance it is going to get stolen.
"I can't stress enough how area residents need to keep their valuables locked up and not sitting in an open vehicle," added Schweder. "We get about six or seven reports every week of people having items stolen from their cars."
Schweder said investigators believe that at least four of the crimes committed are related.