MERIDIAN -- Two Meridian men are facing charges after police say they were caught with a stolen car filled with items believed to have been pilfered during earlier burglaries.
Gavin Nikkita Adams, 20, and Jodon Ballard, 19, were arrested early Friday morning after someone noticed them acting suspiciously in the parking lot of the Fast Eddy's convenience store on Ten Mile Road.
Meridian Police Sgt. Matt Parsons said officers responded at about 5:45 a.m. and found both men still with the stolen car.
During the investigation, officers found more stolen property - including bank cards, electronics and two handguns - inside the vehicle. The items did not all belong to the car's owner, and are believed to have been stolen during previous vehicle or home burglaries, Parsons said.
Meridian Police have tracked down the owner of one of the guns, but the other, along with several other pieces of stolen property, remains unclaimed.
Parsons said the arrests should serve as a reminder to Meridian residents to lock their vehicles and homes, and remove car keys or other property that might tempt a thief.
"Don't leave any valuables that can be seen throught the window," he said.
Parsons said the department has seen a "definite increase" in vehicle burglaries recently, with about 98 car burglaries over the last 30 days.
A vast majority of those burglaries happened when cars were left unlocked, he said.
And valuables left inside vehicles aren't thieves' only target: In the same 30-day period, Meridian Police has had to contend with about 18 residential burglaries and 11 stolen vehicles.
Parsons said residents can reduce their risk of becoming a victim by simply locking up their vehicles, homes, and gates, as well as making sure garage doors are shut and porch lights are functioning.
Both Ballard and Adams have been charged with felony grand theft auto, burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additional charges could be filed in connection to the stolen items.
But Parsons warned that people should remain wary, and take steps to protect their possessions.
"Many of these burglaries that occured are not connected to these people," he said. "There are always people out there looking for the opportunity to get the items that we've worked really hard for, for nothing."
Anyone who notices their vehicle has been burglarized is urged to contact police immediately, before touching anything in the car. Meridian Police is working to return the stolen items to their rightful owners.