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Auto Burglars Shop Unattended Motor Vehicles This Holiday Season

This holiday season, auto burglars will shop the easy way – by stealing your gifts, purse, wallet, firearms, packages or other valuables you leave in plain sight inside your vehicle. Every two minutes, a vehicle is burglarized in Texas with its contents stolen. Obviously, these crimes escalate during this time of year when people increase shopping and don’t take the 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 2,000 of these reports in 2015.  “Texas drivers need to understand careless actions with vehicles and their contents actually help auto burglars do their jobs better.”

The task force has also seen a trend throughout the region involving thefts of large amounts of cash from vehicles, after vehicle owners leave their financial institutions.  These thieves are following vehicles away from bank and credit unions after withdrawals have been made and when the owner parks the vehicle, it is broken into and the cash is stolen if it was carelessly left in the vehicle.  The task force is encouraging citizens to not leave cash withdrawals in their vehicles.  Furthermore, business owners and managers should also be aware that would be thieves can always have their sights set on them as well.  Whenever transporting deposits, always make that drop off be the first stop.  “We want everyone to have a joyous holiday season without the frustration of having their vehicle burglarized when they can easily prevent such crimes from happening,” said Ross.

The Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority and the Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force offer three basic safety tips to motorists to prevent these crimes during the holidays and all year round.  They are as follows:

1. Lock your car.

2. Take your keys.

3. Hide your belongings prior to arriving at your destination.

The auto theft task force, which is a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency unit comprised of officers from the Beaumont Police Department, the Port Arthur Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, would also like to remind citizens to visit the task force website www.watchyourcars.com . The task force can also be located at www.facebook.com.

Anyone wishing more information on auto crimes, prevention tips or would like to arrange a presentation for a civic group, should contact Investigator Roger Ross at (409) 730-4451.