Car break-ins at country club alert neighbors - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Car break-ins at country club alert neighbors

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

People at a Richmond country club are on high alert after a rash of car thefts left some women without some personal belongings.

Police say someone broke into several cars at the Willow Oaks Country Club off Forest Hill avenue.

Police say the members had their cars locked, but people simply left expensive items like purses and electronics out in plain sight.

Officers say these thefts can happen anywhere, and they encourage people to always keep their guards up.

Birdies and aces may be regular chit chat among members at the Willow Oaks Country Club, but the thought of three break-ins in one evening is something unheard of-especially for neighbor Nicholas Boehm.

"It concerns me but I think overall it'll heighten the awareness in the neighborhood," said Boehm. "People will keep an eye out a little better."

Monday night between 5:45 and 7:00, three cars were broken into in the parking lot near the tennis courts.

In every scenario, the thief smashed the car window and snatched a purse. An iPad was also taken.

In each case, windows were up, the doors were locked, but police say this was simple a crime of opportunity.

Lieutenant Michael Stith says the belongings were all out in the open either on the seat or on the floor board.

"It doesn't take long to break a window out and snatch what you want to snatch and go," said Lt. Stith.

Even though members regard the country club as a safe place away from crime, Lt. Stith says people should never let their guards down.

"It can be any area anywhere," Stith added. "If you have two or three vehicles that are easy for them to steal merchandise, they'll proceed to do that."

Boehm agrees because he's had expensive items stolen from his car. Now he has a security system to keep everything inside protected.

"I've had cars broken into in the past where I've previously lived-having things stolen out of my car," Boehm added. "I made a simple investment to keep my car protected.

Police say the best precaution is to keep expensive items out of plain sight. Investigators are working with the general manager of Willow Oaks to see if surveillance video is available.

In the meantime, officers encourage people to take all electronics out of their car. That includes cords to phones or iPods-leaving no reason for thieves to target people.  

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