A thief is out to ruin the Thanksgiving Holidays for many folks.
A rash of car burglaries were reported Wednesday morning in the Paul Ann neighborhood near Howard College.
Many residents of Gordon, Gregory, Watson, and Rita Circle leaving for work and school found their cars were burglarized during the night.
“I felt violated,” said one resident, “I thought this was a safe neighborhood where things like this didn’t happen and people looked out for each other.”
The resident said she’d come out of her house on Wednesday morning to find the contents of her glove box strewn about her front seat in disarray. At first, she didn’t know what was missing due to the paper chaos left behind, but quickly discovered that her gas card was missing.
“I called and got it cancelled, “ she said. When interviewed, she hadn’t noticed that anything else had been taken, but did say her car had been locked at the time of theft.
"It was just really frustrating," she said. "It was Wednesday morning and I had a half-day at the office and a lot of work to do. Then I had to spend half the morning double and triple checking everything to make sure something else wasn't missing, make phone calls and file a police report. I'm just I didn't have anything else in there."
LIVE! Editor Chelsea Schmid also had her car burglarized a few years prior. "I had a brand new camera, a laptop and an audio recording device stolen. The guy--or girl--didn't even have the decency to shut the door so that the dome light would go off. I'm lucky I still had enough juice on the battery to start it," she said.
Schmid says the worst part of it for her was that all of her data was lost. None of it had been backed up, and years of work and memories were gone and would never be recovered. Pictures of family and friends, photos from trips and holidays--all was gone in a single night.
"Since, then, I don't keep anything in my car," she says, "save for a few rocks tracked in on my shoes. You can't imagine what it's like lose everything and to wonder who has access to it and what they'll do with it."
Recently, officers Kuhlmann and Upton of the SAPD presented information about projected spikes in holiday thefts, as well as how to protect yourself.
The San Angelo Police Department urges people to only carry what is needed and to leave Social Security cards and unneeded cash at home.
Victims of identity or any other kind of theft should take action immediately by cancelling debit or credit cards and contacting the Social Security Office if their Social Security card has been compromised.
It is also prudent to put anything of value out of sight as to not tempt any potential thieves.
The SAPD also recommends joining Blue Watch, a Neighborhood Watch alternative mediated online, to help neighbors look out for one another.
“We spoke about that nosy neighbor that knows that red car is not supposed to be in your driveway,” Kuhlmann says as example, “if they don’t think it’s an emergency enough to call the police about it…once they’re Blue Watch members, they can go online and notify people about it.”
In order to become Blue Watch members, residents must apply online and pass a soft background check. After passing, new members will be admitted to a private Facebook group that corresponds to their city sector. More information may be found on the SAPD’s website and Facebook page.
This is only the beginning of the holiday spike in thefts, watch out for yourselves and your neighbors.