Janesville44.3°

Residents asked to close garages

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Jason Smathers
August 18, 2010
— A recent burglary involving underage teenagers and stolen beer has a local alcohol prevention group warning residents.

In a press release Monday, Partners in Prevention of Rock County asked local residents to close their garages and padlock any refrigerators inside to stop teenagers from getting quick access to alcohol.


A resident in the 1900 block of Mineral Point Drive reported a burglary Saturday after finding Nicholas Walker, 18, of 116 N. Pine St., Janesville, stealing beer from his refrigerator and passing it out a window to an accomplice, according to police. Walker was arrested for burglary and underage drinking. Police are still looking for his partner.


The group called the theft an example of a national trend called “garaging,” where teenagers look for open garages with liquor.


“Garaging is a rampant but rarely discovered activity because, as a society, we keep so much unsecured alcohol we just don’t notice a few missing beers,” said Kate Baldwin.


It’s not clear, however, how widespread the trend might be. Sgt. Anne Brophy of the Janesville Police Department said police have not had more than one similar incident occur over the last decade. While garage burglaries are more common, the alcohol theft has rarely been documented in Janesville.


Partners in Prevention is still urging people to keep a close eye on their liquor and lock it up, given the prevalence of underage drinking. The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that 30 percent of Rock County teenagers got their alcohol from someone else.


Locks for refrigerators can be found at hardware stores for about $20. Partners in Prevention also recommends closing the garage door when teens are outside to prevent them from keeping track of where easily accessible alcohol is.



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