Henrico police are investigating a string of car break-ins in the West End on Pine Shadow Drive and Heather Spring Drive.
Neighbors in the area just off Pemberton Road say this kind of crime hardly happens. However, Tuesday night nearly 10 cars were broken into, including one stolen Honda Accord. Police say these weren't your typical smash and grab. In fact, police say all these cars were left unlocked.
Deb Serpe admits she left her purse inside her car and forgot to lock it up Tuesday night.
"I came out to start the car because it was frosty and realized the driver's side was ajar," said Serpe.
The mess she found was proof someone had gotten inside. Her purse was later found down the street - cash was missing among other things.
"I think it's more of sadness. What is driving this group? What are they seeking? What they are looking for? What are the searching to use the money for?," she said.
A few houses down from Serpe's home, a car was stolen overnight.
"We are looking at several people as suspects that we have from larcenies not too far away in the far West End but it's too early to know if all of those are related," said Linda Toney of Henrico Police Department.
Residents say this is a very tight-knit community, a neighborhood where parents hold community Easter egg hunts for the kids. It's not the kind of neighborhood where people live in fear, but some say times are changing.
"The world of our grandparents, when you could leave your house unlocked, your car unlocked and know that if you come out, they'll be there, that world's gone. This is a new more vicious world, and you have to be more aware of that," said neighbor, William Jackson.
Jackson says street smarts are needed to avoid these crimes.
"I'm tired of the criminals ruling the streets. I want my street back. I want my wife and my neighbors and myself to be able to walk out of here, walk anywhere without having to worry about being robbed, murdered, or whatever," said Jackson.
Henrico police really urging people to "stop & lock" - they say the crimes may have been avoided if the owners just remembered to do so. So, now may be a good time to double check.
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