Chico vehicle break-ins prompt vigilante guards

CHICO, Calif. - A rash of vehicle break-ins in downtown Chico has business owners concerned customers will be driven away, but citizens appear to be coming together to try and deter the bad behavior.

Cars and trucks are being targeted at the city owned parking structure on Salem Street.

Glass still litters the pavement after there were three reported break-ins last night and four more Sunday night.

Hotel diamond employees say their guests are often targets since the hotel leases a number of spots there.

Bob Malowney, owner of nearby store Bird In Hand, said there have been at least 18 break-ins in the past two weeks.

He and others in the area are fed up and hoping the problem doesn't scare away business.

But he hopes the tide may be turning thanks to efforts by a Chico group now creating a presence at night.

"The Downtown Ambassadors is people who are volunteering to take care of Downtown during the daytime but I understand that a few of them have volunteered to stake out the parking structure," Malowney said.

When asked why he thinks the group has taken it upon themselves to patrol the area Malowney responded "well we don't have money for people in blue suits to do it" referring to police.

Malowney said it was an ambassador who called in the break-ins last night, even confronting the suspect before he took off running.

Police were unable to locate the suspect and they say that people need to be more vigilant by not leaving desirable items in their vehicles for thieves to be tempted by.

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