Get ready for holiday car crooks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Get ready for holiday car crooks

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November 23, 2004

Moultrie - As you head out to do holiday shopping, so will criminals. But if you're not careful the crooks may do their shopping in your car. Auto break-ins are on the rise and you could be a target.

It only takes seconds for a thief to get inside. Colquitt County Corporal Randy Stephens says, "This time of year, it's always the worst."

To help make your car less tempting we asked Stephens to look for easy targets in one single parking lot. Stephens adds, "They [criminals] are looking for targets."

Like windows left down. Stephens laughs, "That's just inviting trouble."

Within 10 minutes we found numerous items that a criminal would love to have and that's in a small parking lot. We spotted shopping bags, CD's and cell phones.

Stephens says, "They would bust a window just to grab that cell phone." Yeah, to call friends to tell them there are more cars with goodies. Stephens looks inside and finds, "Change in the consul, various tools."Off to the pawn shop the criminal goes. He says, "They'll just break in a car, smash in a window and get enough change for a coke."

Forget the change, just grab the 12 packs we found in another car. Stephens admits, "Some of these juveniles, they'll take anything."

He adds, "CD's seem to be very popular these days, for some reason." Giving you a reason to hide all your stuff, out of sight, out of mind. Stephens smiles, "It's like dangling a carrot in front of them."

It may only take seconds for a professional thief to get inside, about the same time it takes you to hide your belongings.

When you're shopping, always put your packages and bags in your trunk.

Don't forget to lock glove compartments and never leave credit cards or checkbooks in your car because of identity theft.

posted at 6:00PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com