Beware: As Consumers Prepare To Shop, Thieves Prepare To Steal


UPDATED: Thursday November 22, 2012 6:09 PM

Central Ohio police warned consumers to remain vigilant as they go about their holiday shopping.

With Black Friday on the minds of many shoppers, authorities warned shoppers to mind their safety, along with their deals.

Westerville Police Department Cpl. Greg Franey said that thieves are looking for crimes of opportunity, which present themselves more frequently during the holidays.

“Ninety-two percent of thefts in Westerville are either from unlocked vehicles or vehicles where the valuables are visible,” Franey said.

Franey walked 10TV through a parking lot of shoppers and quickly pointed out potential problems.

“There’s a gym bag,” Franey said. “We don’t know exactly what’s in here, nor does the thief. So, they may smash the window out or even see if the car’s unlocked.”

In another vehicle, a box was showing, barely shielded by a jacket.

“People tend to think the tinted windows are going to hide their things,” Franey said. “A quick glance in, block the sun a little bit, you can see what’s in the car.”

Franey said that if consumers take the opportunity away, the potential for crime also diminishes.

“Around this time, yeah, I think people get more of a temptation to try and get free things,” shopper Jennifer Ball said.

Westerville Police officers tell 10TV that they increase patrol of public parking lots during the holidays, looking for exposed items in cars and trucks that may attract criminals.

If they see something, police will mail a post card to the car owner, as a helpful warning.

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