Car break ins plaguing YMCA's; Kingsport to increase security at Meadowview YMCA

The parking lot of the YMCA near Meadowview in Kingsport. (Thomas Gray/WCYB)

YMCA’s in Kingsport and Erwin had several break ins to their patrons’ cars Thursday and Friday.

Thieves in Kingsport made off with thousands of dollars’ worth of cash, purses, credit cards, and wallets, according to a police report. Police spokesman Tom Patton said investigators believe the suspects are from another state and are professional burglars.

Laura Pyne had her wallet stolen from her vehicle parked Thursday night at Kingsport's YMCA at Meadowview.

"When she came out, there were several police cars,” Laura’s husband Mike Pyne said. “They informed her that her car, along with four others, had been broken into."

Thieves acted quickly, using stolen credit cards before they were blocked.

"They made a $300 purchase at Walmart," Mike Pyne said.

Pyne will not be on the hook for that purchase, but he said the YMCA needs to do something to increase security.

"Hire a security guard to be out in the parking lot, just as a presence for suspicious activity,” Mike Pyne said. “Upgrade your security cameras. Anything."

The YMCA parking lot has five security cameras, but adding more could be complicated, since the city of Kingsport owns the parking lot.

"It's actually city of Kingsport property,” YMCA spokeswoman Abigail Weaver said. “It means the Y doesn't have the freedom to take all the steps, or really any steps, as far as the property is concerned without being in agreement with the city of Kingsport."

YMCA officials said they met with Assistant City Manager Chris McCartt, and they will be beefing up security.

Weaver added that investing in new cameras, security guards and warning signs would likely costs tens of thousands of dollars. She and police recommended not leaving valuables in the car unattended.

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