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Thieves prey on items in cars

Photo by Ricki Barker

Photo by Ricki Barker

ALBANY, Ga. -- Leaving valuables in vehicles is an open invitation for thieves to break a window and grab the goods.

"We have been having quite a lot of car break-ins around the Albany Mall," said Albany Police Department Sgt. Edward Heath. "We also have a lot in our apartment complexes. The majority of thefts are by juveniles."

Recently, entering-auto thefts have significantly increased in apartment complexes on Dawson Road, said APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks, who noted between May 15 and May 28 there were an average of three vehicle break-ins a day.

"The majority of entering-auto thefts occurs in the summer months mainly because school is out," Banks said. "Vehicles are left unsecured, and car windows are left down."

Heath said that thieves look for anything under the front seat of a vehicle. He noted that many guns have been stolen that way.

Coins left in a car ashtray just about scream "break the window and take me," Heath said. The car trunk isn't safe either because once a thief breaks a window, a button to open the trunk is readily available.

Police suggest residents follow some tips for keeping their valuables safe from thieves who prey on people who leave valuables in their cars.

- Never leave purses, loose change or any valuables in the car.

- GPS devices, CD players and other electronics are targets for thieves. Take them out of the car.

- Close all the windows. Lock the vehicle doors, even if you are only going to be out of the car for a minute. Lock the trunk and, if possible, the hood.

- Park in well-lighted areas.

- Be careful with people who approach you in parking lots.