Law Enforcement Officials Warn of Common Thefts from Cars

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JEFFERSON CITY - As Black Friday shopping continued throughout the day on Friday, Jefferson City law enforcement at least doubled patrols to ensure safety for bargain-hunters. The usual holiday targets aren't necessarily people, but shoppers' cars parked outside.

"It's really important to be alert this holiday season," Capt. Doug Shoemaker of the Jefferson City Police Department said. "The key thing is to remember to lock your car before you head inside to shop."

Along with simply locking the car, Shoemaker said if valuables have to stay in the car, make sure to put them in the trunk.

KOMU 8 News walked up and down High Street in Jefferson City Friday afternoon counting cars with valuables out in plain sight from passersby. Seven out of the approximate 25 cars parked between Washington and Madison Streets this afternoon had backpacks, presents and briefcases on front or back seats.

But Black Friday shoppers on High Street said they were sure to lock their cars.

"I make sure I hide my purse under a seat and to park in a safe place," shopper Annie Crider said. "I always lock my car and make sure no one can see anything fancy on the seats."

There were no car burglary incidents on Black Friday morning in Jefferson City, according to Shoemaker.

Lieutenant Lyla Robbins of the Fulton Police Department told KOMU 8 News police staffing levels will remain the same around Fulton. However, she said the most common occurrence of theft in Fulton was when shoppers walk away from shopping carts and leave valuables in them.

The Columbia Police Department launched a burglary prevention program last Wednesday and it will run through the weekend. The program includes officers dressed in plain clothes and uniformed, using marked and unmarked vehicles in neighborhoods.