LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Several car break-ins in Lee County have sparked an investigation.
Maj. Danny McTyeire with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said that over the weekend, several vehicles were broken into. He said no windows were smashed to get into the vehicles, however thieves just let themselves in.
The break-ins happened on Friday and Saturday on Ravenwood Court, Maplewood Court and Tabatha Street.
McTyeire said items like car chargers and loose change were taken.
Deputies believe a group of young people are responsible.
According to Mctyeire, break-ins relating to unlocked cars happens often in Lee County.
“Not by breaking the window but with just doors left unlocked," McTyeire said. "They get into groups of people, they go around neighborhoods, they hit specific places, usually late a night, early in the morning and they just go and tap on the handle or pull on the handle and the ones that are open are the ones they go through.”
Lee County sheriff’s deputies have investigated 23 auto break-ins this year alone.
They said that since mid-2013, 169 guns were stolen from vehicles and 95-percent of those stolen guns were in unlocked cars.
“There’s no sense in having a weapon or a purse or cash or change out in the open. That’s what provokes people to break windows and to go in there," explained McTyeire. "If they know there’s a good target inside that vehicle, they’ll smash the window to get in. So hide your valuables. Better yet, don’t put valuables in a vehicle.”
None of the victims wanted to go on camera but were surprised radios and other items were not stolen.
Deputies said the break-ins are still under investigation, however, they want to remind everyone to keep your doors locked.
Lee County deputies also said that taking your guns out of your car not only helps prevent them from being stolen, but it helps keep guns out of the wrong hands and our streets safer.
Mctyeire said once guns are stolen, they are now in the hands of the bad guys. He also said a gun stolen from a car in Lee County was used in a New York murder.
“We’re all about people protecting themselves, but as a gun owner, it’s certain responsibilities you have to take care of, that weapon. We’ve had several, most of them are hand guns that are stolen but we’ve had AF-15s, we’ve had hunting rifles, we’ve had all kinds of guns that were stolen. Firearms that were stolen from vehicles,” said McTyeire.