Shoppers Warned About Thefts From Vehicles

Shoppers Warned About Thefts From Vehicles

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Amanda Butterfield reporting With just 33 shopping days until Christmas, it's time for shoppers to be extra careful. The hustle and bustle gives thieves plenty of opportunities to steal your Christmas, or at least part of it.

Several malls say car thefts are already on the rise. Trunks forced open, windows broken, all to get what's inside. And though we may know better than to leave our bags in plain sight, it's still happening.

Amanda Butterfield met with a Sargent from Sandy City police. They went to a shopping center, and did a little window shopping of our own -- not in stores, but in cars.

"There's a purse on the ground over here on the passenger side."

The parking lot isn't even filled, but inside several of the parked cars are items that would make any thief's Christmas a merry one.

"In this vehicle, pocket book on the floor."

It may not always be as obvious as this purse, and we'll show you what happens to it in a minute. But police say other items like day planners, receipts, even mail, shouldn't be this easy to spot.

"Information that can be used for identity theft purposes."

Now maybe you never leave such things in plain site, like Heidi Chaston and her friend, out doing some early Christmas shopping. But she admits she'll hide her purse under the seat.

Heidi Chaston/Shopper: "Nobody looks under there. When they look in the car they don't see it. I figure they'll go for something easy."

"What do you think?"

"Unfortunately, what happens is people lie and wait."

Sgt. Howard adds they'll also watch as you think you're hiding your bags in the trunk.

Sgt. Howard/Sandy Police: "When they see those valuables go in, they're going to wait until the coast is clear, and they're going to pop it."

From now on, Heidi's not leaving anything in her car.

Heidi Chaston: "I didn't think anyone would put effort in it or sit around and watch."

As for this purse, the owner says she was in a hurry.

Adrie/Shopper: "I had to run in and grab a pedicure and manicure. I ran in. That's why I left my purse in the front seat."

Sgt. Howard says thieves will be in a hurry, too, if they decide to break your window or pop your trunk.

Sgt. Howard/Salt Lake Police: "It takes less than a minute."

Sandy police are printing up a bunch of flyers--reminders to lock your door, and not to leave valuables in your car. They'll be handing them out to shoppers Friday morning.

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