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Sheriff: 26 entering auto cases in Bulloch since June 1
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    It's hot, and so tempting to leave your car windows down in the heat, but is it safe? No, says Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson.
    Since June 1, there have been 26 entering auto cases reported throughout the county, he said.
    Statesboro Police Det. Lt. Thomas Williams said there have been more than 60 cases of automobile break-ins reported within the city limits during that time.
    Both had strong advice for car owners: lock your doors.
    Entering auto cases are on the rise, and peak "seasons" for those who prey upon car owners who leave doors unlocked and valuables in their cars seem to be when Georgia Southern University's regular classes resume and during holidays, Williams said.
    Anderson said a rash of auto break-ins have taken place recently in various subdivisions, indicating the victims aren't random targets but happen to be in an area where multiple theft are planned.
    "We have had four to five (incidents) at a clip in a particular area,"  he said. Irongate, Saddle Creek and Berkshire subdivisions have been targeted recently, as well as homes in the area around Bulloch Academy School.
    Williams said may entering auto incidents in the city occur in parking lots or near the university campus. But both he and Anderson said there is a common factor in the large majority of entering auto cases: unlocked doors.
    "Almost every vehicle we work has been unlocked," Anderson said.
    It's true that some thieves will shatter windows or slit a convertible top, but most of the time, that's too much trouble.
    "A lot of people will say 'If they're going to get in I'd rather them not damage my vehicle,'" but leaving valuables in plain sight in an unlocked car is inviting theft, Williams said. Most entering auto cases are "crimes of opportunity."
    But some are indeed planned, he said. "When we start having a lot (of incidents) in  the same area, we know somebody is working (the area)."
    Anderson said people will " go around checking door handles" and will take anything of value. Often, according to police and sheriff's incident reports, people leave cameras, laptop computers, cell phones, purses and wallets as well as medicines and cash in their cars.
    Another popular item with thieves is the GPS systems that are attached with a suction cup on  the window or dash. These are easily removed and hidden, he said. "Hide your valuables."
    Williams said victims leave valuable items in plain view all the time, and leaving " anything that is going to attract the eye" in your car is a mistake. "Lock them in your trunk" if  you can't take them inside your home, he said.
    And if something must be left inside — like a stereo or your CDs that you keep handy — don't leave doors unlocked and windows down, he said."Crack four windows instead of leaving one open to circulate the air."
    Anderson suggested leaving porch or security lights on, as most entering auto cases occur during the late night or early morning hours. Most incidents occur on weekends as well, he said.
    Anderson said he has increased patrols in susceptible areas and Williams said officers and investigators, including those with the Statesboro Police Crime Suppression Unit, continue watchful patrols within the city limits.
    Anyone with information regarding any entering auto incident out in the county is asked to contact Bulloch County Sheriff's Capt. Todd Hutchens at (912) 764-1787.
    Anyone with information regarding automobile break-in incidents within the city limits is asked to contact Williams at (912) 212-2302.
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