Columbus Police: Smash & Grab Thefts On The Rise

January 17, 2008

COLUMBUS, Georgia -- Columbus police say in the last month and a half, they've seen a spike in car break-ins during the daytime. The thefts are occuring in the parking lots of doctors' offices, gyms, and other shopping centers.

Next time you run an errand in North Columbus, you may want to rethink what you leave in the car. Police say smash and grab thefts are on the rise, and the thieves know what they're looking for in a victim.

"The vehicles that are being targeted are vehicles where people are leaving their purses, laptop computers in the car," said Lt. Gil Slouchick.

Lt. Slouchick says the break-ins are happening in the broad daylight, while people are either at the doctor's office, in the store, or at the gym.

In one case, the thieves were caught on surveillance video. "One is in the vehicle driving alongside the passenger, who got out of the vehicle, and is walking, sees a purse and breaks a window, takes the purse and continues on," he said.

Investigators have had cases along Warm Springs Road, Bradley Park Drive, and the Brookestone area.

They say the only way to protect yourself is to keep your valuables in the trunk, or at home. "Even though it's daylight, don't leave articles in the vehicle. Don't make yourself a victim. There are people our there, that's their job, they wake up in the morning, and they go out looking to steal," said Lt. Slouchick.

Investigators say it's possible that many of these recent break-ins may be the same person or group of thieves. But they're not sure at this point.

Police are working with some surveillance video of the suspects. We'll let you know when that becomes available.