A word of warning from Johnson City Police, lock your car doors as you start your holiday shopping. News 5 learned there has been a number of break-ins both in shopping center parking lots and neighborhoods.
Two beeps sound in the parking lot as Tiffany Young starts her holiday shopping. Those beeps are actually a sense of relief for Young because it means her car is locked, "Just to make sure. Because you never know, I always want to make sure I hear that beeping sound."
But here's some alarming news, in the last month Johnson City Police have seen a drastic increase in auto burglaries and police say it's a crime that's familiar during the holidays. "What we're seeing right now, most of the auto burglaries are not forced entry. They [thieves] are looking for people that have left their car doors unlocked," said Captain Matt Howell with the Johnson City Police.
Captain Howell says these break-ins are happening during the night at area shopping centers as well as neighborhoods and thieves are stealing high price items, "Such as ipads, laptops, wallets, things of that nature."
That's why police are recommending you lock your car doors and hide all your valuables. "Nothing is 100% secure. But your items are going to be more secure if you place them in the trunk of your vehicle if you go back in," added Captain Howell.
Natalie Cornett takes extra precautions and uses a safety screen to keep her Christmas gifts hidden while she shops. But Cornett says break-ins are just a sad truth during the holidays, "I don't understand it because they're [thieves] not remembering what Christmas is truly about."
Johnson City Police also tell us they have made a number of arrests in some recent auto burglaries and police increase patrols at area shopping centers during the holidays to prevent crime.