Thief breaks into retired couple's car while they were out walking trail in Raleigh, steals wallet and spends $700 at Walmart

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The Raleigh Police Department is asking that residents take precautions as they hit the walking trails after a retired Raleigh couple's car was broken into.

Like many of us under quarantine, Steve Mortensen simply wanted to get out of the house and get some fresh air.

"It gives you a sickening feeling. I haven't been able to sleep in two days," said Mortensen.

On Saturday, he and his wife headed down to the Neuse River Trail. Before he left home, Mortensen said he stashed his wallet in his console and when he got to the park he locked his SUV.

"Came back out and saw that my window had been smashed. The bill fold that was hidden had been taken. All my cash, military ID card, driver's license, credit card, all taken and it just turns your life upside down," Mortensen said.

Someone had taken a huge rock and broken the window, damaging the door's frame. But the thief didn't stop there.

"Within 30 minutes of stealing it, they had gone to Walmart purchased $700 worth of merchandise," Mortensen said.

Thankfully, The Mortensen's were able to cancel their cards but calming the concern isn't that easy.

"When we have this virus going on, everyone is already upset and feeling horrible and to top it off with something like this makes it miserable," said Mortensen.

But if there's a lesson to be learned, the Mortensen's are using their story as a message.

"I just want everyone to be aware of something like this. Sometimes they post signs that say hide valuables and keep your car locked. But I recommend not having any valuables at all," said Mortenson.

Raleigh police tell ABC11 they are investigating. However, they don't believe this crime is connected to a rash of break-ins. RPD sent the following reminders:

  • Always lock your vehicle's doors and remove valuables or at least keep them out of sight
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it is unlocked
  • If you have a garage, use it and lock the door
  • Never leave your car keys in plain view or in an easily accessible area
  • If you must leave valuable objects or packages in your vehicle, lock them in the trunk
  • Never leave your keys in the vehicle
  • Park in well-lit areas when possible
  • Avoid parking near large vehicles and bushes as they provide cover for thieves
  • Call 911 if you see somebody looking into windows, pulling door handles or checking for alarms by bumping windows or bumpers
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