Thieves aren't particular, they will take your gifts wrapped or not

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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An invitation for thieves: an unlocked vehicle with wrapped presents in the back seat.

An invitation for thieves: an unlocked vehicle with wrapped presents in the back seat.


Tis the season for thieves to be holiday shopping for vehicles with Christmas merchandise visible for all to see.

Did you know it takes less than one minute for a thief to break a car window and steal the goods? That, according to Greer Police Captain Matt Hamby and a catalog of statistics, compiled by insurance companies.

“There are typically more auto break-ins this time of year,” Hamby said. “Most are because the vehicle is unlocked. Lock the doors and don’t leave valuables in sight.”

Hamby said the same practice should be in place when parking the vehicle at your house.

Criminals make their living breaking into vehicles and holiday shoppers are a more targeted audience.

Don’t throw a raincoat or a blanket over the merchandise thinking you’re deceiving anyone, according to one insurance agency. Put the valuables out of sight, lock the doors (checking before walking away), roll up your windows, don’t leave keys in the car or hide them under the car.

Hamby offers these tips:

• Pick a parking space in a busy, crowded parking lot that constantly has walking traffic and driving activity.

• Park in well-lit areas. When you have the opportunity, have someone with you getting to your vehicle. It reduces victims ten-fold. Some malls offer valet shuttle service from the curb to your vehicle.

• Know what’s around you.

• Stay in the car if you see something suspicious. Call the police.

• If you do see something, be a good witness. (License) tag numbers are great.

• Don’t try to physically restrain anybody.

One insurance agency suggested putting the valuables in the trunk after shopping. Before returning to the mall/store, it’s suggested that shoppers, although it’s inconvenient, take the precautionary step of locating a new parking space.



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