The Ketchikan Police Department is again reminding residents to lock their cars after a report of vehicle break-ins Tuesday night in the upper Water Street area.

Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett said one victim’s unlocked vehicle contained a firearm.

“It appears that a person, most likely a juvenile, was walking down the 1200 block of Water Street trying car doors,” he said. “(They) turned on White Cliff and across Second Avenue and down toward First Street. During one of those times, one of those cars they found unlocked, contained a backpack which had a Glock pistol in it.”

Dossett said it’s not clear whether the perpetrator knew the gun was in the backpack. Police are actively investigating the stolen firearm.

Dossett said vehicle break-ins have been a recurring problem in Ketchikan over his 24 years with the local police. Locking doors is the easiest way to avoid theft from your car. Dossett said it’s  a crime of opportunity, and it’s unlikely a perpetrator would break a window if the car is locked.

“The only reason they’re going in the cars is because the door is unlocked,” he said. “Breaking a window creates a large amount of noise, which they don’t want to do. So, they’re just trying those cars that have the door unlocked. So, they’re just walking down the street, lifting door handles until they find an open one.”

Dossett said whenever there’s a new rash of car break-ins, local police usually are able to find whoever is doing it, and then it stops for a while. He said it’s nearly always a juvenile.

The last reported crop of car break-ins was in late January in the Carlanna area.