COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Like many mornings, Robert Dekemper headed into work around 4:30 and decided to run inside a convenience store to get something to drink.
The crime happened April 27 at the 7-Eleven on 1402 Harrison Road, one block over from Lake Avenue.
But an unhappy surprise waited for him when he got back to his truck.
"I climbed into my cab and my backpack was gone."
This year, the Springs has seen slightly more car break-ins than last year: 1,295 versus 1,282 at this time last year. Some have happened at trailheads, some on quiet residential streets, and others, like for Dekemper, happen in businesses. Dekemper was at the 7-Eleven off I-25 and Lake Drive in southern Colorado Springs.
"Angry, frustrated, nobody likes to be a victim," said Robert Dekemper.
"My backpack was all they were able to grab," he told 11 News, "but unfortunately inside my backpack: a brand new cell phone, tablet, an extra set of work clothes, some personal items, paperwork. Altogether, probably over $1,500 worth of stuff."
He said his truck was unlocked when he ran inside.
“I guess the thief, he was inside the store when I walked in, and I guess as soon as I walked in, he walked out and jumped in the truck," he said.
Dekemper told 11 News it's disheartening someone thinks they can just help themselves to other people's hard earned stuff.
"After getting out of the military, I worked as a firefighter in Oklahoma. I’ve worked really hard for everything I have. It’s really, really frustrating when someone thinks they can just come take it.”
Dekemper said he later tracked down the thief, and called police -- but they couldn't get there for hours. It was too late.
“Lock your doors, don’t take it for granted. You never know who the criminal’s going to be. You never know who’s going to snatch your stuff.”
Police told 11 News that just about anywhere there is a parking lot, they have car burglaries, especially at parks, trail heads and gyms.
Bottom line: lock the doors, even at the gas station.
This story came to us as a news tip. If you have an idea, give us a call at 719-578-0000.