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Just days after local law enforcement warned of a bump in auto burglaries, two teenagers have been charged with breaking into more than 40 vehicles in the East Brainerd area.

A news release from the Chattanooga Police Department said Trevor Sims, 18, and a 17-year-old were charged with burglary and theft. The release said a cellphone left in a victim's vehicle and video evidence helped investigators identify the suspects.

Last week, the Times Free Press quoted Chattanooga police statistics said 89 vehicles had been reported stolen between Sept. 23 and Oct. 26. And Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond called a news conference last week to denote a rash of vehicle burglaries. 

The police news release said the department's auto burglary unit investigated several thefts in the Gunbarrel/Shallowford Road area on Oct. 28.

Investigators found the cellphone in a victim's vehicle and a local resident had videotape of the thieves breaking into his car. Police believe the two men stole 40 cellphones, five firearms, ammunition and other items of value, some from cars left unlocked.

Burglary victims inquiring about property stolen during an auto burglary should call the police department at 423-643-5000 and ask for the Property Crimes Unit. If calling about a stolen cellphone please provide a serial or IMEI number.

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