Crooks Want Your Stuff & Strike When Malls Are Busiest

By: Rosie Barresi Email
By: Rosie Barresi Email
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More than 40 million people, according to the National Retail Federation, still haven't started on their holiday shopping. So from now until Christmas malls and department stores are expected to be packed and cops say that's when crooks strike most often.

At the Citadel Mall on Saturday night in Colorado Springs several cars were broken into. Police say cash and electronics were stolen. Police often tell unsuspecting potential victims that if a crook can't see it, then a crook can't steal it.

So if valuables are in plain sight, "It's opportunity for them to break into your car and do a quick smash and grab," said Sgt. Tony Erickson with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

While bad guys might be bad, authorities say they are not dumb. "They're more educated, they watch, they see what's going on," said Sgt. Erickson.

Cops say thieves will often stalk their victims from a distance, see if they have anything worth taking and then close in when no one is looking. It's what happened at the Citadel Mall Saturday night. "I'm just glad I wasn't here," said Tiffany Lee who shops at the Citadel Mall. "We were there last night. Didn't have any problems," said Tim Lajaunie who also shops at the Citadel.

Cops say their advice is still the same. Don't shop by yourself, park near the front of the store and never leave your things in plain sight. "Trunks are usually a pretty safe place," said Sgt. Erickson.

Police say if you see anyone suspicious lurking around a parking lot you should report them. And if you have information about the car break-ins at the Citadel mall, call Crimestoppers in Colorado Springs at 634-STOP.

Police also say domestic violence crimes and robberies also go up around this time of year.

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