Police Warning Shoppers About Holiday Smash-and-Grab Crimes

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Police are warning shoppers about a holiday crime spree in Belmont County, where criminals are breaking the windows of parked cars and stealing purses. Officers have responded to reports of windows being smashed. 

In one case, the purse was covered with a pillow, but that was not enough. Officers warn shoppers to not leave any valuable items in the car, and if you must, leave them in the truck locked up. 

In another case, the store manager said he saw a man lurking outside all day, but he did not think to call 911. Sheriff Dave Lucas said if that’s the case, to give his department a call and they will come to check it out. 

People’s reactions to the crime wave are widely varying. “I leave my purse in the car all the time. But I take my wallet, So if they’re really that stupid and they want to go to jail for busting a window for nothing, go for it,” said Stacy Smith of Morristown. 

Other shoppers said they just use common sense and to take your purse or wallet in with you. 

Lucas said packages are just as vulnerable as purses.

The smash-and-grabs happened outside restaurants at the Ohio Valley Mall and the Ohio Valley Plaza. He said the victims were probably just tired, hungry and making one last stop before heading home.

“You’re taking a big chance. And I’m gonna be honest with you. It’s really, really hard for us to locate who stole it if we have no witnesses. So guaranteed, they’re lost for good. So my advice is take it home, put it away, then go out and eat,” Lucas said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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