Beware vehicle break-ins at El Paso County trailheads!

Photo courtesy El Paso County via the "Explore our Parks - Sante Fe Trail" video.
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MONUMENT, Colo. (KKTV) - Between longer and warmer days and an ongoing pandemic, more of us than ever are out enjoying our area trails.

But the El Paso County Sheriff's Office has an important warning: with more people out, vehicle break-ins are on the uptick once again.

Surveillance cameras at several trailheads have shown crooks going car to car checking for unlocked doors.

"In each instance, if the car doors were locked, they simply moved onto the next car," EPSO said.

But if a car was unlocked ...

"The suspects searched through the car and stole what they could and moved on to the next."

The prowlers almost never bothered breaking any windows -- not unless something of value was left in plain sight. In one case, the soft top of a Jeep was cut through and a purse was snatched out.

Crooks aren't waiting for dark either -- they are combing through vehicles during peak park hours. Most of the break-ins have occurred between 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Below is a list of cases from last month provided by the sheriff's office:

April 19: 2100 block of Stella Drive (southeast corner of Fox Run Park)
April 19: Fox Run Park
April 21: 2100 block of Stella Drive
April 21: Fox Run Park
April 24: 8300 block of Burgess Road (Black Forest Section 16)
April 24: Section 16 trailhead
April 26: Old Denver Road (Santa Fe Trail)

In the April 26 case, the sheriff's office says the suspect used the victim's credit cards to buy several gift cards from the King Soopers in the 1000 block of West Baptist Road. EPSO does have a suspect: a black or Hispanic man standing between 5-foot-10 and 6 feet and weighing 250-270 pounds, wearing a black hat, orange hoodie, black pants and a face mask.

Anyone with information on any of these crimes is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 719-390-5555.

Parkgoers are urged to always lock their car doors and leave valuables at home. Don't leave anything in plain sight that could tempt a crook to break in fo!