▶️ Thieves smash windows, grab items left in cars at trailhead parking lots


A rash of car break-ins at trailhead parking lots along the Cascade Lakes Highway has people taking precautions.

There have been multiple reports of car break-ins since the Fourth of July weekend at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station, Swampy Lakes Sno Park and a third location along Century Drive.

We checked with Deschutes National Forest Service officials who confirmed it is a perennial problem in the summertime.

“Make it obvious that there’s nothing in your car that’s worth anything,” said Jean Nelson Dean, Deschutes National Forest public information officer. “If you have something that you need to have with you, put it in your trunk. Do that before you get to the trailhead so there’s not somebody sitting there looking at you put that in the trunk.”

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Thieves are breaking windows and grabbing items visible inside the car.

A laptop computer, food and personal items have been taken while car owners are gone on long bike rides or multi-day trips into the backcountry.

“I have observed certain instances, like the broken safety glass, but I have noticed a little bit more law enforcement presence floating around the trailheads,” said Ross Hallett, Bend.

Most people we spoke with in the Cascade Lakes welcome center parking lot were aware of the recent car break-ins and are taking precautions.

“We lock our bikes onto the back if we are going to be close by. If we are going to be gone any length of time we put them inside the vehicle, cover them up with a blanket so they are not visible through the windows,” said Judy Seid from Encinitas, California. “We also cover the windows with window coverings.”

There are several, simple preventative steps you can take to reduce the chances your car will be broken into in a trailhead parking lot while you aren’t there.

  • Make sure there’s nothing visible inside the car
  • Roll up the windows
  • Lock the doors
  • Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle
  • Use audible alarms and visual anti-theft devices

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