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'Tis the season to be wary: car thefts on the rise in mid-Missouri during holiday months

Heading into Black Friday deals, shoppers scouting out holiday steals are not alone. It's a busy season for thieves looking for easy targets. (Photo: MGN Online)

It’s the time of year where law enforcement around the state wants you to be on high alert. Thieves steal mail, items inside your car and even your vehicle during the holiday months.

Heading into Black Friday deals, shoppers scouting out holiday steals are not alone. It's a busy season for thieves looking for easy targets.

"Always around this time of the year we see an increase in vehicle thefts and vehicle break-ins," Lieutenant Dave Williams with the Jefferson City Police Department said.

"Thieves are getting smarter. If they see a package inside your car, or the vehicle is unlocked, they take that as a sign to steal."

Although nowhere near the highs of the 1990s, car thefts are back on the rise nationally as criminals become smarter.

Now, Williams said people's entire cars are stolen right from their homes.

Danielle Juliette, a recent victim of this crime, shared her terrifying experience.

"I was asleep inside with my two year old," Juliette said. "We went to bed on September 18 and woke up on September 19 to our car missing from our driveway."

"Our garage door open was inside the car. If the thief would have known, our lives, especially my daughters', would have been endangered," she said.

Juliette said they had no idea there was a spare inside her car. She wondered how the thief knew, but she and her husband didn't.

"We were lucky enough to get our car back, but now we owe thousands of dollars in damages. Police said hey found the car running a few miles from our home," Juliette said. "We thought we lived in a safe place, but now we feel completely violated."

Williams said during this time of the year a lot of people leave their cars running outside to warm them up. He said that's the number one mistake car owners can make.

"We have people who leave their garage doors open overnight. if you don't want your car taken, close your garage doors," Williams said.

Data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau showed during a three year period, more than 150,000 cars were stolen while they were let running.

Williams said if you don't want thieves pinpointing you, remember these easy steps.

  1. Roll up your car windows
  2. Lock up your doors
  3. Be smart about leaving visible items in your vehicle




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