Courts & Crime

Want to leave big gift for holiday thief? Don't lock your car

WICHITA — None of the vehicles in the Towne East parking lot this morning had flashing lights proclaiming "Come and get it!" to thieves.

But some of them might as well have.

Police officers and officials spent part of the morning checking vehicles to demonstrate how easily shoppers can become crime victims during the holiday season through indifference or lack of awareness.

More than a half-dozen cars checked within a matter of minutes were unlocked. One of them had a loan application — a gold mine for identity thieves — sitting on the front passenger seat.

"How long would it take to steal that? About this long," Lt. Clark Wiemeyer said, opening and closing the door.

Too many folks simply think nothing will happen to their car or belongings, officers said.

"Everyone is just in a hurry, is what it comes down to," Officer Mike Lloyd said. "They think, 'Oh, I'll only be inside for a minute.' But it's never only a minute."

Capt. Darrell Atteberry spotted a military ID left in plain view in a red sedan. After repeatedly finding unlocked cars, he simply shook his head.

One woman left her purse sitting atop a stack of folding chairs in the back of a maroon Chevy Suburban. A brand new boom box — a coveted target for thieves hungry for items they can resell — was left in plain view in the back seat of a white Town and Country.

Lloyd said he spotted three forms of ID left inside easy-to-get-into vehicles within a matter of a few minutes.

"That's a good day's work for an identity thief right there," he said.

Read more at Kansas.com

  Comments