Auburn (WSYR-TV) -- Police say there have been 30 car thefts in Auburn since the beginning of the year.
Auburn resident Tracy Stewart was awoken at 6 a.m. by an officer at her door.
“This vehicle’s door had been open and then we found everything had been rifled through and things had been tossed about and it looked like only loose change had been taken from one of the vehicles, but everything had been gone through,” Stewart explained.
Stewart even found a knife that had been taken from a neighbor's truck. It was clear someone was lurking around her street overnight, looking for any unlocked doors.
“My husband opened the door and he noticed that all the contents of our center console were just strewn across the front here,” Jessica Wrench said.
Wrench admits she had a false sense of security.
“We live on a quiet street; nice neighbors, you know? But from now on, doors are going to be locked, our front windows are definitely going to be locked. We have a small baby. We want to make sure that he's safe,” said Wrench.
Keeping valuables out of sight is key. Police recommend taking valuables inside with you at the end of the night. Other tips include:
- Stow electronics in a locked trunk if you decide to leave them in the car.
- Write down model & serial numbers in case stolen items are ever recovered.
- Consider installing motion lights to scare intruders away.
Police say in 9 out of 10 cases, thieves are looking for an easy hit and they'll usually move on if a car is locked. For Stewart and Wrench, it's a hard lesson and they still feel violated.
“I always lock my vehicle, except last night," Stewart said. "It’s in my property, in my driveway…so what if I didn’t lock it. Does that mean that anybody gets to come in and rifle through it and steal from me?”
Stewart believes she's only missing pocket change. But, police say iPods, phones, cameras, and GPS devices are major targets of car thieves in the cases they've responded to this year.