Avoid becoming a victim of parking lot theft this holiday season

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)- Lufkin Police say there have been more car burglaries within the past six months than ever before. With the help of local law enforcement, East Texas News Nine investigated just how easy it is to fall victim to car theft.

"See right here we have CD's on the dash. A fellow with a rock knocks this out and they're gone in ten seconds," said Lt. David Young as he opened the door to an unlocked vehicle in the Target parking lot.

Shoppers aren't the only ones enjoying the holidays.

"The holiday time is a great time for a thief in a parking lot because there are more available targets. People have packages in their vehicles. They're in a hurry. They tend to make mistakes sometimes," said Young.

Criminals can then make their move.

"They depend on speed. If they can unlock your door, that's even faster. If they have to knock your window out, they're still gone in 30 seconds. If your ten cars away, you might not even know it."

It only took minutes for Young to find the perfect example, a door left unlocked.

"If this fella had left a wallet or something of value in there, how long would it take me to get that? It's that simple."

No wallet, but prescription drugs, and a stereo.

"Always lock your car, don't leave your valuables in sight."

One shopper admitted to leaving a few important items behind which she tried to hide.

"My ipod. My camera."

We also spotted an ipod cord, which Young says attracts criminals.

"I want to start thinking more carefully next time, when I just go shopping at Target."

This shopper remembered to bring her purse and says working at a bank has made her aware of what not to leave behind.

"Receipts, and stuff because people could easily steal, like the last digits of your card."

The lesson learned today; lock your doors, and protect your valuables. Don't give car thieves the opportunity to make you their next victim.

Young says officers will begin patrolling major shopping areas to help control the problem. They hope to start, before the end of the holiday shopping season.

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