The Belton Police Department on Thursday dismissed as "baseless" a woman's widely-shared social media claim that an officer broke into her vehicle.
The department said an officer was on patrol at 2:20 a.m. Monday and found the woman's vehicle unlocked with its windows down. As a courtesy, Belton Police said the officer wrote up a crime awareness reminder and left it on the woman's vehicle -- without ever going inside -- and continued on with his duties.
Sometime after that happened, the woman's vehicle was actually entered and rummaged through, according to police.
"There were several other car burglaries in the area overnight, and suspects have been identified and charges are pending in connection with the thefts," Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis said in a statement.
On Facebook, however, the woman posted two photos suggesting it was the officer who broke into her vehicle -- not a criminal.
"This person somehow deduced that it was the officer who entered her vehicle," Chief Ellis wrote. "She apparently also believes that he was considerate enough to leave a note about it."
Chief Ellis said his department called the woman directly to address her concerns and explain the situation. But, her post was shared nonetheless.
One Facebook user expressed surprise the officer did not just knock on the woman's door. Belton Police explained the reason was that the woman's address did not match where the vehicle was parked. So, the officer left the note instead.
"The intent of our courtesy notices is to prevent crime by making people aware of situations where they are more likely to become a victim," Chief Ellis wrote. "The Belton Police Department practices Prevention Focused policing and stands behind this officer’s proactive efforts in this regard."