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Thieves Target Holiday Shoppers

Holiday shopping is in full swing and criminals are targeting shoppers’ cars and valuable. It’s a crime trend ABC 17 News has been following for days.Last week, thieves broke into more than 20 vehicles in Columbia and now law enforcement are urging residents to be vigilant to help curb the crime.During a trip to several area parking lots, ABC 17 News found purses and shopping bags in plain view and even cars unlocked, making it easy for criminals.”A lot of times they are looking for something that they can grab quick and easy,” said Cpt. Brian Weimer of the University of Missouri Police Department. “It can be purses, money or perhaps those new gifts you just bought. It’s something they can easily grab to take out of there and be on their way.”ABC 17’s Hanna Mordoh found money, purses, shopping bags, DVD players and miscellaneous shopping items in several cars parked in retail lots.Authorities are urging shoppers to be careful when leaving items in vehicles.”Make sure that they do not leave stuff in the vehicle that they don’t have to,” said Cpt. Weimer. “If items need to be left, they should be locked up in the trunk, secured in the glove box, or very least out of sight.”Police also say people should park in busy areas that are well-lit and to make sure it is hard for criminals to get inside your car.”Always make sure you lock your car and double check it when you get out,” said Cpt. Weimer. “You may you think you hit that lock, but a passenger door or back door may stay open.”In the end, police say taking precautions will help, but anyone can become a victim since more of the time, break-ins are simply a crime of opportunity.

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