Parking lots during holiday season like gold mines to thieves

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - In an effort to curb thefts this holiday season, officers are trying to warn people about the dangers of leaving items in your vehicle.

Many times it's small things that can have people be vulnerable to theft.

"It only takes seconds for them (thieves) to take what they are looking for in the car," said Cpl. Jason Cantrell.

Authorities are trying to make sure thieves won't ruin your holiday season. But with so many in a rush it can be easy to overlook the things that make you vulnerable.

"It's not surprising to find people leave their keys in their car, and everything else as they run in really quick."

KBOI-TV spent time with the Nampa PD corporal in a Kohl's and Target parking lot in Nampa and it took only five minutes to find multiple vehicles filled with the things thieves would go for.

"This person left their wallet, their CD case out and it looks like their purse," Cantrell said.

With shopping season in full swing the gifts can pile up making vehicles easy targets for break ins. Officers say it's best to leave your items in the trunk or covered up with a blanket so they're not in plain sight.

Theft is a crime of opportunity and most thieves won't waste their time breaking in unless they know there's something of value.

Cantrell says it's normally something people don't think about and even he has slipped.

"I hate to admit it but I've done it before myself, but you just have to stay vigilant.

Thieves can break into a car in a manner of seconds and be very hard to catch especially at shopping centers. That's because a thief walking around with gifts looks like any other shopper going to their car.

Cantrell also suggest another step to keep yourself fully protected.

"Keep your receipts separate from your merchandise so people can't take the merchandise you just picked up, and then take it back and return it for cash."