Lock vehicle doors, hide valuables

Cops: Your vehicle not a safe

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Five vehicles were broken into Sept. 18 in Alpharetta and Johns Creek.

Two were at North Point Parkway. The crime of entering autos is one of the more prevalent in North Fulton, because people often leave bags and valuables in their cars in plain sight.

• One victim told police he was in the P.F. Chang’s for a half an hour and came out to find a car window smashed and a backpack missing. A laptop was in the bag.

• Another victim was at the Lobster House near Haynes Bridge Road at about the same time with similar damage. Another laptop bag was taken, however this one contained papers.

This incident was caught on camera and showed a man in a gold or tan car similar to a Chrysler Sebring park next to the victim and smash the window.

In Johns Creek, three cars were broken into in the parking lot of a Douglas Road restaurant. Just after 9 p.m., police arrived to find three cars had their windows smashed.

• One victim reported a bag filled with baby clothes was taken.

• The second victim said a schoolbag was taken containing papers.

• The third victim reported similar damage and said a backpack was taken from his floorboard containing an Apple laptop, two passports, a pilot’s license and foreign currency.

For police, the crime of entering autos is particularly frustrating because it is one that can be easily avoided, said Alpharetta Police Officer Terry Joyner.

“Most people feel like they can lock their belongings up in their car and then go where they want to go — the mall, the theater or a restaurant,” he said. “But if they are in plain view, it’s a target.”

Laptops, wallets, cellphones, GPS devices and purses are all common items stolen.

Criminals will look into parked cars, hoping to see something of value lying inside, Joyner said. It’s only a matter of seconds to smash a window, snatch the valuables and then run off into a waiting vehicle.

There is a simple remedy for most of these kinds of thefts. Instead of leaving valuables out, Joyner recommends taking the time to lock them in your trunk, but before you get to your destination.

“If they see you put something into your trunk, they will think you’ve got something of value,” he said.

Thieves will keep a look out in parking lots for people locking items up. Do it at work or at home, before you leave.

“This crime is the easiest crime to prevent,” said Joyner. “Don’t think your vehicle is a safe. It’s not.”

MH 100312