CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - 'Tis the season to kick off holiday shopping, but if you're not careful, a Grinch could walk away with your recently purchased presents.
The Clay County Sheriff's Office is reminding people to keep their holiday goodies out of the hands of thieves with their "Like it, Lock it" campaign.
Deputies say shoppers tend to be focused more on buying their next holiday gift, not potential robbers lurking in the parking lot.
In the last year alone, there have been 345 cases of auto burglary reported. Authorities said 106 people have been arrested for the crime, while 37 others have been taken into custody for grand theft auto.
"With the mall, for example, people leaving things in open view in the vehicle. The biggest thing we get are unlocked vehicles," said Sgt. Eric Twisdale of the Clay County Sheriff's Office. "They can happen faster than you can react. They will have already accomplished what they set out to accomplish before you realize what's happened."
What can happen at the mall can happen just as fast at your home. That's why the Sheriff's Office also uses door hangers in neighborhoods if they see valuables being compromised.
"The patrol deputies, or any deputy for that matter, when they see a bicycle or an open garage or anything of value that could be secured easily, they'll fill that out, leave it on the door just as an adviser to the homeowner. Letting them know they had an item out that could potentially be stolen," Sgt. Twisdale said.
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