CENTRAL SQUARE, NY (WSYR-TV) - Cathy Hardman usually locks the doors of her car. But, she got home late Saturday and forgot. Hardman paid for that mistake.
"Credit cards, $55 in cash, my iPhone charger and a pair of gloves," Hardman recalled.
Those items were missing by daylight, when Hardman's husband noticed footprints in the snow leading up to the passenger side of their car. The footprints also led to other cars in their Central Square neighborhood. One friend said her iPod was gone too.
Surveillance cameras caught a duo trying to use Hardman's credit to buy pre-paid cards at stores in Central Square and throughout Onondaga County. Police say they also fueled up at a local gas station during the shopping trip.
"Suspects appear to be two white males, twenties to thirties appears to be the age at this time, driving some type of dark colored minivan," said Central Square Police Officer Michael McCarthy.
McCarthy says car thieves often hit homes overnight, giving them time to make purchases before the owners realize their credit cards are missing. Pre-paid cards are a common purchase, as they can be used or sold long after the stolen credit cards are blocked.
Central Square Police increased patrols of Hardman's neighborhood Sunday and alerted Neighborhood Watch. But, McCarthy says the thieves focused on simple hits.
"I think they were just looking for targets of opportunity, unlocked vehicles, very early in the morning on Saturday morning when most people are in bed, just looking for a chance to score some easy money," said officer McCarthy.
Their faces aren't clear in early surveillance pictures, but Hardman is hoping one suspect's unique jacket will be a red flag to someone, helping police track down this team so that can't strike again.
"Yeah, my car was unlocked. That is my fault," admitted Hardman. But, it still doesn't give them a right to run through my neighborhood, checking car doors."
Anyone with information about the suspects can call Central Square Police at 676-4303.