String of car break-ins at popular Elliot Highway trailhead

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) Over the weekend, several cars were broken into at the Wickersham Dome Trailhead, close to 30 miles up the Elliot Highway. This has been an ongoing problem at the trailhead as visitors often leave their cars unattended for several hours or overnight.

A car that was broken into at Wickersham Dome Trailhead over the weekend. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

Alaska State Troopers say six cars were broken into over the weekend. Troopers say another car was also broken into at 62 mile Elliot at another trailhead.

Trooper Patrick Hargis says their advice is to leave valuables at home or take them on the trail with you.

The troopers are investigating the break-ins, and say there has been a consistent pattern of the crimes. Hargis says the thieves are breaking into people's vehicles, going through them and stealing a variety of items they find valuable.

"The key with these also is we noticed that they're stealing keys and garage door openers, and possibly taking vehicle registrations and things like that. So the important thing to remember with that is vehicle registrations have your address on them," said Hargis.

Hargis says he understands that people want to go to the area for hunting or to enjoy the trails for several hours or days at the time, but he urges them to take precautions while leaving a vehicle alone for a long period.

“I think that the reason there has been this string of break-ins in that area is that these particular individuals are privy to this information. They know that people are leaving their vehicles entirely unattended for long periods of time and they’re taking advantage of that,” said Hargis.

He recommends putting a game camera nearby or a camera in your car that sends the footage offsite to your phone or computer, in case they take the camera. “You’re still able to look at those photos and then provide them to us so we can try to use them for evidence purposes,” said Hargis.

Hargis says dash cameras can also be very useful for gathering evidence.

Bureau of Land Management in Fairbanks says they are aware of the break-ins and are working with the troopers. BLM says they are aware of the broken glass on the ground and are making plans to clean it up as best they can.

Craig McCaa, public affairs specialist with BLM, says unfortunately this has happened before, but that this is the worst it has been and that they are trying to get rid of the hazard.

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