It is the holidays, and thieves are out on the prowl for your belongings. The problem is, many folks are making it easy for crooks to break into their car and steal their things.
For the first time this holiday season, the Corpus Christi Police Department's auto theft task force was out in the parking lots looking into cars on Friday. They were looking for items that you might have left for thieves to take, and police say all they need is 15 seconds to snag your belongings.
"It's very quick. They pop it, they go in, they know exactly what they are getting and they grab it and they are gone," said Lt. Chris White of the CCPD.
What police did Friday was head out to the Best Buy parking lot to grade cars there. They looked to see if any items were left visible, if windows were cracked and if doors were left unlocked.
If a vehicle passed the inspection, it received a good report card. If it failed, police left a report card to let the owner know what they needed to work on. Their goal was to teach shoppers not to leave anything behind.
"A criminal sees a valuable as anything he can pawn or get cash for," White said. "Anything from the wires that connect your iPhones to just change in your cup holder."
It is surprising to see what they found. Several cars had unlocked doors. Not only were they unlocked, but they had purses, electronics, valuable documents and gifts.
One truck was unlocked with keys inside, and even mail, making it easy for thieves to not only get inside the truck but also giving them a chance to find your home address and try to open your home with the keys.
Another truck left a signed check out in the open. The truck owner said he didn't even know it was there.
So far this year, there have been no auto burglaries at that particular shopping center. Last year at this time, CCPD already had about five burglaries. The increased police patrol has definitely help keep burglars away, but residents still need to do their part.
The auto theft task force will continue to do these weekly report cards at different shopping centers throughout the holidays.
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