RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Raleigh and Cary police are investigating a string of recent car break-ins in Wake County.
In at least two of the cases, thieves stole purses and cashed thousands of dollars in stolen checks.
On Nov. 4, Jackie Barkey was walking with a friend at Shelley Lake Park when someone smashed the rear passenger window of their car, snatching her purse and checkbook.
"I felt violated and fearful because I realized that probably somebody was in that parking lot watching us, observed me putting my purse underneath the seat," said Barkey.
She immediately called her bank to cancel her debit and credit cards, but days later she learned the thieves had already emptied her checking account, using her license to cash $3,500 in stolen checks.
Barkey called the woman whose name appeared on the checks and learned her car was also broken into.
Melissa Malmfelt told ABC11 thieves took her purse in the parking lot of a Cary YMCA before cashing $3,400 in stolen checks in her name and withdrawing thousands more in cash.
"It just shows you how sophisticated this is. This is not just little petty theft," said Barkey.
Police are now investigating a possible pattern in the crimes and warning residents to be vigilant and not try to hide valuables in vehicles when they park.
"We suggest if you're going directly to the gym or you're going directly to the park you do that before you even leave your residence so that way if there is someone in the parking lot watching that they will not see you put them in there," said Cary Police Capt. Randall Rhyne.
Raleigh police have reported three break-ins at Shelley Lake Park since Nov. 4.
If you see anything suspicious, you're asked to call police.
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