Branching out: Bettendorf car thefts increase north of Tanglefoot Lane

BETTENDORF, Iowa - A problem that's plagued the quad cities in recent years won't seem to go away. 

Car thieves are branching out-- targeting new neighborhoods. 

Local 4 News has been keeping an eye on the number of car thefts across the Quad Cities. 

Bettendorf's police chief says northern Bettendorf has become a hotbed for the crime, specifically north of Tanglefoot Lane.

One family tells us their small neighborhood has become the latest target-- with multiple reports of cars stolen. 

"I started screaming and ran upstairs to get him and called the police," recalls Amama Khan.  

It was a start to her day that she was not expecting. 

"I woke up Friday morning, went into the garage, 6:30 my daughter leaves for school," Amama says. 

"The garage door was open and the van wasn't there." 

Amama says she had made sure all doors were locked around 11:30 p.m. the night before.

Then, Amama's husband, Nafees, realized he must've forgotten to lock his car in the driveway.

"None of us leave the car in the driveway. I was just doing some work in the garage, so stuff was all on the floor," says Nafees.  

A simple slip up at the wrong time.

Inside Nafees' car was the garage door opener andd his wife's spare key. 

"You get used to these little things in terms of having a garage door opener in the car all the time, just a click of a button go in the house," he says.  

And inside Amama's van: Her purse. 

The Chicago native admits it's a bad habit that she and fellow moms-on-the-go have developed. 

"They say, 'We do the same thing, we leave our purse, our keys in the car, it's just more convenient just hop in and go," Amama says.  

But now, the she and her husband are warning friends, family and neighbors. 

"That couple of seconds extra that we say it's going to take us, it's worth it. Invest that couple of seconds. Get your bag out and any other personal belongings out," says Amama. 

Because they say that one slip up can cost more than you think. 

"They were in my house, they were in the garage. They were literally steps away from getting inside my house... What's to say that a couple more incidents down the road, they don't start doing that?" she says. 

The Khans say they have already talked to neighbors about starting a neighborhood watch. 

They hope to partner with homeowners in their cul de sac, as well as down the street. 

Local 4 News investigated to get a closer look at the stolen car problems in Bettendorf. 

Here's what we found:

  • In 2016: There were 24 car thefts in the city, according to Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball.
  • In 2017: 52
  • 2018: 46

Chief Kimball also tells Local 4 News that most cars are recovered in about a week. 

He says they are usually abandoned nearby where juvenile suspects live or hang out. 

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