WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Spring weather has many people outside enjoying the day, including Cindy List getting some fresh air with her dogs. But like many people, List doesn't want to carry all of her valuables with her, so she hides them in her car and locks the door.
"If they walk by your car and see it unlocked, [see] a purse in the front seat, they're going to go in there," says List.
But according to Sheriff Fred Newman, not everyone realizes how important it is to lock your belongings. "Typically if a car is locked, for the most part a thief will not enter because they're concerned about the alarm going off. But we find out most of the break-ins we have are the result of people simply leaving vehicles unlocked," he told us.
Newman tells us leaving valuables inside where they can be seen, things like purses, iPads, even change in the cupholder, can tempt a thief. "That's an open invitation for a thief to break into the vehicle," he said.
It's not limited to cars. This time of year many people are out working in the yard, so it's a good reminder to lock up items used outside like lawn mowers, tools, even bikes and ATVs. "There are always predators. You hate to think of that, but they're out there," adds List.
That's why police say always be cautious and protect any items you have. "This is not the good ol' days, so to speak. We're just not in that era anymore," says Sheriff Newman.
Sheriff Newman also says many people would be surprised to learn how many drivers leave their keys in the car. He says even if the car is parked at your house, never leave your keys in the car.