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BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
Car thieves usually target newer, more-expensive vehicles.
A rash of auto thefts in Culpeper has been just the opposite. Thieves are making off with older--2004 or before--models, including pickups.
Six out of eight cars stolen since April have been recovered within a few days in the Washington area, according to town public information officer Wally Bunker.
One of the others, a 1988 Oldsmobile stolen from the Walmart parking lot, was found in the Aldi's parking lot just across James Madison Highway and another was recovered near the Culpeper Sports Complex on State Route 666.
"Most of the cars stolen had damaged steering columns when recovered," Bunker said.
The thefts--and at least three attempted thefts--intensified in early December, especially in the Walmart parking lot and surrounding neighborhoods. Town police are urging residents to be cautious.
"We ask that people be aware of suspicious circumstances and call the police immediately," said Lt. Andrew Terrill.
Police are also asking for the public's help in solving the rash of thefts. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at 540/727-0300 or contact Sgt. Jeff Dodson at 540/829-5526.
Bunker said the Help Eliminate Auto Theft program administered by the Virginia State Police is offering up to a $25,000 for tips leading to the arrest and recovery of one of the stolen vehicles or parts.