Christmas criminals spoiling holiday cheer in Sierra Vista
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Dec. 4, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Talk about spoiling the holiday cheer. Police in Sierra Vista report thieves are turning Christmas shoppers into victims -- and those Grinches have been especially busy. Now, investigators, alarmed by the crooks’ efficiency, want to warn you.
The crime is pretty simple. Thieves target parking lots at malls and apartment buildings, according to Corporal Scott Borgstadt of the Sierra Vista Police Department.
“When people are out en masse at parking lots, they'll go through and just try door handles to see if something's open,” Borgstadt told 9 On Your Side. “If they find something's open, they just reach in real quick -- take a pursue, wallet, cell phone (or) anything they get their hands on. They're gone in a matter of seconds.”
Borgstadt said there were a dozen such car burglaries last November. This year, there was more than twice that number that month. He said the increase isn't dramatic, but is sizable for a city like Sierra Vista.
“It's a crime of opportunity,” he said. “That's all it is. They see that opportunity, they open the door, they take advantage of the person and then take off.”
The police department’s advice is simply to lock your car and hide your valuables.
“It could only take two seconds to hit that button on the door or the remote button on your key fob to lock the door and prevent a criminal from taking advantage of you,” he said.
Police have no suspects, but are pouring over surveillance video in hopes of busting the burglars.
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Borgstadt, “Do you have any hope of catching them?” “Absolutely,” he answered. “We, as a department, have a very good clearance rate on these crimes.”
Officers have stepped up patrols of parking lots throughout the city, especially on the busy shopping weekends.
If you do see someone snooping around a parking lot and peering into cars, police ask you call 911.