orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

November 23, 2012

Auto burglars shop unattended motor vehicles this holiday season

ORANGE — This holiday season, auto burglars will shop the easy way - by stealing gifts, purse, wallet, packages or other valuables one leaves inn plain sight inside one’s vehicle. Every two minutes, a vehicle is burglarized in Texas with it’s contents stolen. These crimes escalate during this time of year when people increase shopping and don’t take necessary precautions to protect personal items left in a vehicle.

“We know that auto burglars prowl shopping malls and other large parking lots, waiting for the opportunity to break into a vehicle. Within seconds, they can take your items, your identity and sometimes your car,” said Roger Ross, an investigator with the Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force.

Despite the fact that many times auto burglaries are preventable, area law enforcement agencies received more than 3,200 of these reports in 2011.

“Texas drivers need to understand careless actions with vehicles and their contents actually help auto burglars and thieves do their jobs better,” Ross said.

The Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Auto and the Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force offer three basic safety tips to prevent these crimes during the holidays:

• Lock your car.

• Take your keys.

• Hide your belongings prior to arriving at your destination.

Last year, thieves stole 827 vehicles in Southeast Texas. Many of those had unlocked doors and the vehicle’s keys left inside,

Residents should be aware that leaving their vehicles unattended with the keys inside can also lead to a citation which carries a $200 fine.

“We want everyone to enjoy the holiday season and not experience the frustration of having their vehicle burglarized or stolen when they can help prevent such crimes from happening,” Ross said.

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