The U.S. Forest Service announced today that nine individuals from Gastonia, NC, and Greenville, SC, have been arrested and indicted  for breaking and entering vehicles parked on the Pisgah National Forest throughout the spring and summer of 2017 and 2016.

According to the USFS, most of the break-ins occurred at popular trailheads and developed recreation areas. Some vehicles were accessed via broken windows and locks while others were simply left unlocked.

Stolen items included cameras, backpacks, camping equipment, cash, debit/credit cards, purses, firearms, and personal identification. All told, the items were valued at approximately 10,000 dollars. Those charged with the Pisgah break-ins could face up to 10 years in jail and $250,000 in fines.

“Historically, the Pisgah has been a problem area for these types of crime,” said U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Brian Southard. “Forest visitors should leave valuables at home or if you have to bring them, take them with you when you leave the vehicle. At a minimum, valuables should be hidden in the trunk, under the seat, or elsewhere, and you should hide them before you approach your parking spot.”

The USFS is asking visitors to report suspicious activity to the local U.S. Forest Service ranger district office or County Sheriff’s office.

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