FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a trend constantly talked about, thieves targeting cars with valuables left inside, in plain view, making them easy targets. However, despite the frequent warnings from police departments across Middle Tennessee, cars are still getting broken into.
“You really just kind of look in, you know, bad guys are going through and they are just taking a quick look just like that,” said Lt. Charles Warner with the Franklin Police Department, as he looked into a car himself.
So, with the help of the Franklin Police Department, News 2 put the theory to the test. How often do people truly leave valuables in plain site for thieves to steal?
Within five minutes, Lt. Warner was able to identify five bags that could clearly be seen just by looking through the window.
“There’s a purse right there,” he said looking into one car. “I don’t see a purse here, but I see a backpack.”
“Bad guys sit in the parking lot and they watch and when they see you get out without your purse the assumption is you probably left it behind,” explained Lt. Warner.
While we looked through the parking lot, surprisingly no one stopped to ask why we were looking into cars. Lt. Warner explained that’s how thieves blend in.
“Walking a dog or maybe a couple of people that look like they’re out for a run, how much easier it is for them to blend in and not get approached while they’re actually breaking into cars,” said Lt. Warner.
On Monday, just minutes after Franklin police posted a tweet warning people, officers responded to multiple break-ins.
“Officers responded to a series of vehicle burglaries at the Williamson County Rec Center, where several vehicles had been broken into while youth soccer practice was going on. The side windows of the vehicles were smashed and purses/valuables were taken. There is no suspect information at this time.”
“I was shocked. I wouldn’t expect it in a place like Franklin. You don’t think about stuff like that happening,” said one woman visiting the park.
It’s that mindset that sometimes makes Franklin a targetted area — oftentimes they are coming in from neighboring counties.
“People feel safe here, and because of that feeling of safety people let their guard down because they think, well that’s not going to happen here, but think about it if you’re a bad guy that’s exactly the kind of place and exactly the kind of victim and opportunity you’re looking for,” explained Lt. Warner.
“Auto burglars frequent parking lots at places like gyms, parks, daycares, and athletic fields. They pick those places because they know that women are very likely to leave their purse behind. In fact, they often sit in these parking lots before you ever arrive and actually watch you get out without your purse. When you do, they walk up to your car, see that your purse is sitting there in plain view, smash your window out, and steal your purse,” explained Franklin police.
Police are urging people to remove their valuables from their cars and take them with them. Or, at the very least, store them out of sight so they cannot be seen by someone looking into your car.