The recreational vehicle industry appears to have another problem: Thieves swiping big-screen TVs from RVs in storage areas across Elkhart County.
From the end of April to this past weekend, police say, there have been six such incidents of theft across Elkhart County and dozens of TVs stolen. Most of the TVs have been larger, flat panels, with some as large as 52 inches, according to WSBT-TV, South Bend.
Police believe five of the six incidents are related. Five of them occurred at various Forest River Inc. locations across the area, while the other was at Total Value RV, an Elkhart RV dealership.
During most thefts, several TVs were taken, including 11 at one time.
The thefts have been an ongoing problem since last summer, said Trevor Wendzonka, Elkhart County police spokesman.
Elkhart County Detective Brian Holloman, a crime statistics analyst who has been studying the recent thefts, believes indications point to three people being involved.
“From my perspective, they all appear related,” Holloman said. “It looks like the same people involved.”
One of those was a man arrested Saturday morning following a burglary at the Forest River Inc. plant on the city’s west side. Police said they interrupted the burglary in progress after a security guard at the business called for help shortly after midnight.
When they arrived, they discovered TVs had been taken from the RVs. The case remains under investigation and police said other people may be involved. The suspect, 27, who also had three outstanding warrants, was taken to the Elkhart County Jail.
Holloman said police will continue to investigate the string of thefts.
Police, meanwhile, have increased patrols around storage areas for RVs.