TRAVERSE CITY — Mayor Michael Estes recently acknowledged the time has come for him to make a lifestyle change.
The mayor plans to begin locking his doors.
Estes never locked his car, he said, even when he left his wallet and both sets of keys inside his pick-up truck. A thief or thieves took money from his wallet and both sets of keys from his truck while it was parked outside his Huron Hills neighborhood home on Monday at about 3:30 a.m.
“I am a very trusting person. It is my fault and I have to do better at it,” Estes said. “That changes now. Last night our car, garage, and house were totally locked up and quite honestly, I feel like a prisoner, but it’s a reality I have to accept.”
Estes said he learned one of his neighbors had his car burglarized three days earlier.
City police Capt. Brian Heffner said a thief or thieves are regularly targeting unlocked cars in an area at the base of the Old Mission Peninsula.
“These individuals have not entered any locked cars,” Heffner said. “If people lock their cars these individuals pass them up because apparently they are finding enough unlocked cars in the city.”
Estes said he had about $400 in the wallet and it will cost about $700 to get an new key system for his truck, including the cost to have it towed. He’s also getting the locks changed on his house, though he doesn’t know for sure if he had a house key.
“I never used one,” he said. “I will now.”
Estes said his daughter also parked a car in his driveway that night and she lost about $100 from her wallet and her car keys.
“She’s working three part-time jobs and that was a lot of money to her,” Estes said. “That’s the saddest part of it all.
“She followed in my footsteps, this misguided philosophy — she’s trusting of people,” he said.
Estes spoke about his victimization at the end of Monday night’s televised city commission meeting, and encouraged people to lock their doors.
“I’m just trying to save other people from dealing with this,” Estes said. “When people are invaded in this personal way, they lose more than they can afford.”