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Don't Leave Things in Your Car!

The Eureka Police Department issued a reminder to community residents Tuesday warning against leaving purses, wallets, checkbooks or credit cards in vehicles parked at the Broadway Cinema.

Between Dec. 12 and Jan. 21, six vehicles were burglarized while parked there, four occurring last week.

“We’re not targeting certain businesses, were just trying to educate the business owners and their clients so they don’t become victims,” said EPD Public Information Officer Suzie Owsley.   A burglary can have more lasting effects than the loss of cash or personal items.

“It’s not just burglary, it’s identity theft after the burglary,” Owsley said. “That’s our real concern and that’s what we’re hoping is the real concern of the citizens of Eureka.”

Community residents can take steps to prevent becoming victims.

“All you have to do is take your purse or wallet into the store or the movie theater or wherever you go when you leave,” Owsley said.

Even if items are not left in view, she said many burglars know what places people commonly hide their purses or wallets in the car, including under the seat or in the trunk.

“A lot of them are watching and as soon as you are gone they are breaking into the car,” Owsley said.

EPD Detective Curt Honeycutt agreed that it is common for burglars to watch people leave items in their vehicles.  “These are the vehicles they target,” he said.

Some businesses choose to put surveillance cameras in their parking lots to aid in catching burglars, which can be helpful, she said.

“As a business, if you’re thinking of putting in surveillance cameras to watch your parking lot, make sure you get quality equipment that will produce a good photo,” Owsley said. “If it’s cheap, the results are not beneficial.”

Once someone’s identity is stolen it can take quite a bit of time to file a police report, cancel credit cards and bank accounts and check credit reports to make sure no one is opening new accounts or making other purchases in the person’s name.

Preventing identity theft is easier than trying to fix it after it has occurred, Owsley said.

“It’s important that people take responsibility,” Owsley said. “People should try to prevent it in the first place.”