- an increase in car break-ins and thefts in ohio, kentucky, and indiana has alarmed citizens this fall.
- officials in the area have blamed a supposedly organized gang of youthful car burglars that numbers at least 40 people across the tri-state area.
- of note, however, is that most of the attacked vehicles were left unlocked, and/or in open garages, some with the keys and valuables visible inside, begging the question: why don't people lock their cars?
one monday evening this fall, bridgetta tomarchio was lounging inside her cincinnati-area home, as the family’s audi q7 sat parked in the driveway. the next time she checked for the suv, reported fox 19 now, it was gone. when she contacted police to report the theft, tomarchio says they knew just whom to blame—the "glacier gang," a crew of young car burglars that is said to run about 40 people deep. authorities across the tri-state area not only held this youthful gang responsible for an uptick of area car thefts that dates to summer, they declared the group a public menace.
"they are aggressive and violent," juvenile court judge joseph kirby reportedly warned in an email to colleagues in the warren county system a week earlier. "one youth who is alleged to have a terminal illness has vowed to ‘go out in a blaze of glory.’ everybody needs to remain vigilant and exercise care." this was after police in northern kentucky cautioned residents about a band of thieves targeting every town in the area, and a sheriff’s deputy was struck by a stolen suv whose driver, a juvenile, was allegedly fleeing police.
from there, the story quickly morphed into a social media sensation, with reports of six or more car thefts on a single night in one area. the only thing more alarming than these reported crimes was, well, the lack of tangible evidence for this so-called glacier gang—a name surely inspired by artist gucci mane, but somehow seeming more fit for a rogue band of radical environmentalists than a fast and furious crew.
consider: the cincinnati enquirer couldn't verify the email attributed to kirby through him or the warren county court system, or match social claims about that night of six stolen cars with police records. "we have no known affiliation or title to this group," said lt. philip ridgell, who represents the same county sheriff’s department as the officer who was struck by the stolen car. (his injuries were non-life-threatening.)
more likely, the thefts are symptom of a much bigger problem: owners leaving their keys inside their cars. a recent new york times report found that car thefts, after a near four-decade drop-off, have jumped up in large part because owners are making it easier than ever for bored teens to go for illegal joyrides—leaving law enforcement struggling to keep up with a deluge of cases.
even tomarchio herself admits to having left her keys in the car, telling fox 19 that they "were in a jacket pocket that was hanging on the suv's mirror, which she had forgotten about." it was recovered 24 hours later near downtown cincinnati, with little out of place besides the overpowering stench of marijuana. "we got too comfortable," she said. evidently, the leap from complacency to conjuring a well-organized gang of teen car bandits isn't long enough.