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Nearly 30 vehicle break-ins within a month leave people shocked and angry in Bozeman

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Posted at 11:58 AM, Nov 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 09:31:59-05

Shock, anger, and a feeling of violation—just some of the thoughts that some people in Bozeman had when they realized their car was broken into recently.

Elaine Hense loves being outside and hiking around the Gallatin Valley. During the nice months, Hense would make the trek up the M Trail, arguably one of the most iconic hikes in the area, twice a week.

In the beginning of October, Hense parked her car at the base of the trail and made her 45-minute hike. When she returned, she found her rear passenger window was smashed and her purse gone.

“You just feel violated; you know, you work so hard and someone does something like that,” Hense said.

Hense said that several credit card companies were alerting her of suspicious activity and declining $1000 transactions for pre-paid gift cards; however, one of her newer credit cards allowed a transaction through.

“They just have all that stuff and it’s just this ick kind of feeling,” Hense said.

Hense reached out to the Bozeman Police Department, where the officer she worked with was able to get a photo of a suspect from Walmart surveillance.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a significant amount of cases—close to 30 in the last month,” Captain Joseph Swanson, with the Bozeman Police Department, said.

Captain Swanson said that this can occur when a car is unlocked, leaving valuables that are visible, and in some instances, suspects break in windows.

One woman that said she was working out at Ridge Fitness, returned to her car window smashed, and her purse gone. Three cars were broken into at the YMCA, and one car—that was unlocked—at a dog park.

Captain Swanson said that the department is unsure if these break-ins are related in any way.