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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thieves are smarter than you are

Recently there have been a lot of thefts from parked cars in lots belonging to health clubs and in areas near soccer fields, parks and other recreation areas. This follows a rash of incidents within the locker rooms of the clubs.

Some thieves are stupid and do things like walk in front of security cameras during burglaries. Those crooks usually have short careers. Then, there are the guys who rob locker rooms. According to AARP Bulletin, they can do pretty well if they are careful and not too greedy. If they steal just one or two credit cards from someone’s locker, they can easily use the two hour window before the cards are noticed missing to buy a lot of goods such as electronics. Usually, after two hours have elapsed the person robbed notices the missing cards and has them canceled. By then, the damage is done.

Because of locker room theft, many people are now locking their valuables in the glove compartments within their cars in the parking lot. That is dumb. There must be a thieves newsletter or grapevine because most of them know already this is happening. Or, maybe they have figured out that since the lockers are empty of valuables, maybe they are in the victim’s cars. A skilled thief can easily bust into a car and get the goodies out of the glove box.

Recently in Denver, a theft ring was busted that had stolen credit cards from cars of 500 victims. They had purchased more than $400,000 worth of stuff with the cards. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is not immune and some similar cases there have been reported.

What can you do? The obvious thing is to not leave valuables in your car. That’s elementary and it’s hard to believe anyone wouldn’t figure it out. If you get new credit cards write "ask for I.D."on the back instead of writing your signature. Also, why not leave credit cards and/or other valuables at home? Or, if possible, carry them with you to the activity.

Remember, successful crooks are smart in the stealing business. You aren’t, so try to use some common sense and don’t leave you valuables laying around for these guys to take.

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