Purses, a camera and lots of merchandise are just a few of the items WSBT found in plain sight in cars at Wal-Mart.
"It can take less than a minute for them to take things out of a car," says Lieutenant Tim Williams of the Mishawaka Police Department.
Police say vehicle burglary is a crime of opportunity, and during this time of year there is plenty of that. Shoppers fill their carts with the latest gadgets and trends, and then fill their cars. Criminals know this and all they have to do is wait.
"Usually it is high dollar items. Anything that is easily accessible. If you leave something in your car and they can make off with it, they are going to do that," says Williams.
"We hear about it all the time," says Randy Neville.
Neville works at U.P. Mall, so stories about vehicle break-ins are nothing new. Especially since two years ago, thieves stole from him.
"It is pretty disappointing. I had a Portable DVD player under my seat and they stole my radio and DVD player. So it was very frustrating and very disappointing," says Neville.
The Kilgore Police Department would like to offer the following tips for preventing your vehicle from being burglarized during the holiday season:
Police say there are ways to avoid being a victim: Keep valuables and merchandise out of sight, make a trip home if possible, be on the lookout for suspicious people and report them to store management or police.
— Keep your car locked and, if possible, parked in a well-lighted area at night.
—Do not leave any valuables in your car. If you have to leave valuables in the car lock them in the trunk or hide them. A purse, shopping bags, Car DVD players or Car GPS device, left in your car, in plain view, simply invites the thieves to smash your window and steal them.
—Record serial numbers to any of your electronics and keep them stored in a safe place.
And, of course, police say don't make it easy for criminals. Lock your car. And most thieves will break a window if they see something of value, so make sure they don't.
Police say on average during the holidays they get about five vehicle theft reports a day. They expect that number to skyrocket on Black Friday.