Tacoma man says his truck was broken into twice in one week at Point Defiance Park

TACOMA -- With the weather getting nicer, more people are spending time outside at local parks. But thieves are also spending more time there.

One Tacoma man says his truck was broken into twice at Point Defiance Park.

“I wanted to rage quite a bit,” says Matt Umstead, when he found out someone broke into his truck yesterday. “This is the second time in a week.”

The thieves took his wallet the first time. The second time, there wasn’t much left of value.

“They took spoons, bananas, sweatshirts.”

Umstead isn’t the only victim. Tacoma police say citywide, car prowls are down five percent year to year.

But we checked and learned of close to a dozen thefts from vehicles around Point Defiance Park in the last couple weeks.

“It’s kind of surprising, because there’s a lot of people milling about on foot. It doesn’t seem like it would happen a lot here,” says Tina McGregor.

She says it’s especially unnerving to hear about these crimes happening at the dog park, since people park right outside the gates.

“People are playing with their dogs on the fields, their cars are right there, they can see them.”

“It seems really bold,” adds Justin McGregor. “I don’t know how they can get in and out and do it so quickly. Maybe that’s why they’re getting away with it, because it is so fast.”

Tacoma police say there are simple ways you can keep car prowlers away.

“Don't cover up a backpack with your jacket,” says Officer Loretta Cool. “Because the thief may want your jacket and they get the backpack as a bonus.”

Umstead says he’s learned his lesson, and will be more careful the next time he goes to the park.

“Just stow away anything and everything I find valuable, out of sight. Make sure windows are up, doors are locked, everything.”

Umstead says the thieves tried to use his bank cards at a few local stores. Police are now trying to see if they can get surveillance video from those stores, so they can identify the suspects.