String of Break-Ins Has SWVA Residents on Edge

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Situated in the rural mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge, Virginia’s western panhandle, known locally as Southwest Virginia, has a long history of traditional mountain charm, natural scenic beauty and low crime; however, in recent days an alarming uptick in break-ins and theft has many residents of the region on edge.

In the very heart of this Appalachian region is the Wythe County community of Rural Retreat, which as the town’s name suggests, is an ideal “rural retreat” with a population of less than 1,500 souls.

Sadly, on Wednesday, the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office released a statement declaring that the community “experienced an excessive amount of vehicle break-ins…” adding that, “the suspects are targeting unlocked vehicles in the nighttime hours.”

The news came just days after residents in neighboring Wytheville experienced a number of thefts, including simple low-value items from yards.

In a Facebook post, the county sheriff’s office stated that investigators have been in contact with other agencies that are dealing with similar incidences.

Other communities said to be dealing with similar issues include Giles County, Montgomery County and Roanoke City.

The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents of the region to “lock your vehicle doors, even when parked at your home.  Report any suspicious activity immediately.”

If anyone has any information regarding the break-ins, they are encouraged to contact the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Chris Terry at 276-223-6068.

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