ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — While stealing purses from cars is nothing new for criminals, it seems all too often we hear of parents left as the victims.
Last week, Elk River Police posted a surveillance picture on their Facebook page of a woman accused of stealing purses from cars around the metro.
Many of the thefts were in day care lots. WCCO-TV teamed up with Roseville’s Kinder Berry Hill Daycare and the Roseville Police Department to show just how easy it is to lose your valuables.
While picking up your kids won’t take long, crimes of opportunity can happen even faster.
“It’s a 30 second crime, they can be in and out real quick,” said Officer Brooke Jennings with the Roseville Police Department.
It didn’t take long for Jennings to find some easy targets. While precautions, like parking in a well-lit area, are probably ones you’ve probably heard, there are others that aren’t so obvious.
“Definitely the iPod or the MP3 cord that’s running into that center console area would lead me to think that there’s something of value in that spot,” Officer Jennings said.
While most parents told WCCO-TV they know about the threat, it didn’t necessarily stop their careless behavior. Officer Jennings pointed out to one parent a laptop case visibly sitting on the passenger floor and exposed sporting goods in the back seat.
WCCO-TV even found one parent’s car sitting unlocked.
“I didn’t see her lock it, I didn’t hear a car horn beep or anything. It definitely has some items, a lot of items sitting out in plain view,” Officer Jennings said.
Officer Jennings also reinforced the good behavior exercised by several of the parents, like carrying your purse into the facility.
“I’ve heard that people can watch daycares and they look for if you’re carrying a purse cause they assume if they can’t see it, that you’ve left it in your car somewhere,” parent Kelly Olson said.
Officer Jennings said awareness, knowing thieves are lurking even when you can’t see them, is your first line of defense.
Roseville Police also said if you get your purse or wallet stolen and don’t see credit card activity, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Often criminals are motivated by identity theft, and that can be hard to detect initially.