Garner police urge people to lock up after break-ins

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Garner Police said the break-ins were all crimes of opportunity (WTVD)

It's the kind of habit Garner police are urging residents to change as thieves are on the prowl for easy targets.

"I don't lock my cars or put my tools up or nothing," one resident told ABC11.

"They're hitting unlocked cars," said Captain Joe Binns. "They're hitting unlocked sheds."

Since April, thieves have stolen items from nine sheds in various neighborhoods around Garner, including everything from weed eaters to power washers; losses total in the hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

"People are not breaking into things," said Binns. "They're not crashing windows to get to items. They're just opening the door."

In the Forest Hills neighborhood, George Smith said a group of teenagers recently caught his eye as they were walking down his street.

"They abruptly turned and went into the neighbor's yard," he said.

Minutes later, Smith said the group emerged, seemingly empty-handed. He decided to call his neighbor anyway and warn him to check his property for any missing items. Smith said since another neighbor warned him a month earlier about a rash of car break-ins, he's been improving security in and around his home.

"We put up security lights, motion sensor lights, and we put in a security system," he said.

Police said a home surveillance camera in the nearby Woodland Forest neighborhood captured a group of people going from one unlocked car to another, rummaging around, looking for things like cash, phones, and other electronics.

"It's a violation," said Johnny Shepherd whose wife's car was broken into. "They went through there and just ransacked the glove compartment, opened the trunk up, went through the trunk and went through everything, took an old purse out but there was nothing in it."

Police are working to identify the suspects, saying It's a crime of opportunity that's preventable.

"You really just gotta lock your stuff up," said Binns. "It's simple, but it would really solve a lot of crime."

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