Charlottesville Police warn shoppers about ‘smash and grabs’

Smash and Grab Warning

CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - Shoppers in Charlottesville may have gotten great deals on Black Friday, but police warn that thieves might get the real steal.

Charlottesville Police say that package thefts and vehicle larcenies are on the rise. Two dozen package thefts have occurred in the past few months. They say the holiday season presents an even bigger opportunity for would-be thieves.

“It’s a crime of opportunity," Tyler Hawn, public information officer for the Charlottesville Police Department, said. "You can easily make yourself a target for any of these by leaving your car doors unlocked, keeping valuables in plain sight.”

In many cases, these crimes occur because shoppers are simply unaware of their surroundings.

“No, I hadn’t thought about it until you brought it up just now," shopper River Hawkins said. "Now that you mention it, it is something I should concern myself with.”

Paying attention could be the difference between having a happy holiday, and criminals getting the last laugh.

“As I pulled into the parking lot here at Best Buy, I said well maybe I should park next to several other cars rather than as an isolated car," Shopper Mike Krebs said. "I’ve got something in the backseat I would prefer somebody not to take.”

Charlottesville police say the best course of action is to make a plan and try to ferry expensive goods home before going to another store. If that’s not possible, they encourage people to cover their valuables to make them less obvious or simply put them in the trunk.

“Definitely cover things that you can," Hawn said. “I wouldn’t even go to the point where you’re just leaving things on the bottom of the floorboard of the car.”

If you do see something, police urge you to call it in. They will dispatch officers to make sure that a Grinch isn’t stealing Christmas.

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