DENVER — Thefts from vehicles continue to be a problem in the Denver metro area.
It isn’t just unlocked cars parked on the street overnight that make it easy for thieves. Break-ins are also happening in broad daylight.
And with the warming weather, the number of incidents is expected to dramatically increase.
And if you think hiding valuables under your seat is keeping them safe, think again.
It only takes seconds for a theft to happen.
Last year, the Denver Police Department responded to more than 6,500 vehicle break-ins. So far this year, there have been 1,100 calls.
More often than not, police say those thefts could have been prevented.
“People, they get careless. They are too much in a hurry,” David, a self-admitted thief, told police in an interview posted on the department’s Facebook page.
David said he has been in and out of prison for 22 years.
“Breaking into cars and stealing. I’ve broken into at least 50,000 to 100,000,” he said, further explaining how he finds his targets and commits his crimes.
“Right now, I just pulled up to a store parking lot. I’m going to act like I’m talking on the phone. I’m just sitting here, watching,” he said as he demonstrated what he would do.
In an RTD parking lot, a woman was on the way to her vehicle.
“I’m smart about the things I keep in my car,” Melissa Hadjih said. “So before I leave, I basically look around to see if I have my laptop, any belongings that mean a lot to me to try to you know, put there under the seat, put them in the trunk.”
“A thief knows all these things already. If you’re going to try to hide it under the seat, I already read your body language,” David said.
“You’re hiding something under that seat. I don’t know what it is you’re trying to hide, but I’m going to break that window regardless because you’re hiding something under there.”
Thieves, David said, are always watching.
“People usually leave their bags like this. There’s probably something in there. Come around and phew. Take it that quick and I’m gone,” David said.
In the RTD lot, there were plenty of vehicles with bags, boxes and valuables left in plain sight.
“Especially valuables. I always try to hide them as much as I can, but sometimes you know it doesn’t happen,” Hadjih said.
It’s that “sometimes” that makes people an easy target for a thief looking for a score.
“There ain’t no safe place to leave your car. Thieves don’t care. They come to kill, steal and destroy and they are going to take it all. No heart,” David said.
Car break-ins also happen at night. Thieves often walk streets and parking lots checking doors. Open ones make for quick and easy targets.