It takes less than a minute for a thief to break a car window and snatch the iPod, laptop, or purse on the front seat. A former car burglar explained how easily it's done.
It happens nearly two million times every year in the United States. Someone like "Randy" breaks into a vehicle and steals whatever he can as fast as he can. Randy is a former "professional."
"I've broken into cars all over Baton Rouge," he claimed. "Broke in cars, stores, houses, everything."
He also said he never got caught. Randy added he has not done anything illegal in more than five years. When his first child was born, he quit that life. Randy described what he would be looking for if he were going to break into a car.
"Just looking for somebody that's not paying attention. The easiest target is a woman with a kid, older person, somebody who's not going to get you back too hard if they do catch you," he explained.
Casing a store in West Baton Rouge, within moments he noticed a truck with its windows down. It serves as a perfect target for a thief.
"Now, he's in the back of the store, can't see nothing while I'm in the center console grabbing whatever I can grab," Randy said.
An elderly lady leaves her windows open as she goes in to pay for the gas. Randy just picked up a DVD player in about two seconds. Of course, he doesn't actually take the newly "stolen" items.
However, Randy doesn't stop there. Just across the parking lot is another juicy tidbit of trouble. Work trucks loaded down with things that are easily pawned and turned into quick cash.
"Because, anything I'm going to do, I'm going to scope it out. I'm over there. I just grabbed a DVD player. Now, I'm looking at all these trucks. They got power tools. Their ladders are tied down with straps. Easy, pair of scissors, pocket knife, just cut it, throw it in the back of the truck, I'm leaving," he added.
The car insurance company Nationwide suggests some pretty simple tips for keeping your valuables safe.
Keep your car visible - Park your vehicle in well-lit areas near people and away from larger vehicles or shrubs. Thieves prefer to work in private.
Hide your valuables - Many smash-and-grab thieves act on impulse. Don't make it easy. Stow your stuff before arrival. Experienced thieves often stake out parking lots watching for people to hide things in their trunk.
Most vehicles are broken into with the intent of actually stealing the car itself - Steering wheel locks, steering column locks like "The Club" and brake pedal locks are all great ways to reduce your chances and encourage thieves to move on and check out someone else's ride.
The most obvious tip is to lock your doors.
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