Toledo car break-ins on the rise

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo police are looking for suspects responsible for breaking into cars and ripping off drivers. Police say the new year is a good time to ditch old habits that could make you a target for car break-ins.

Over the course of a few days, Toledo police crime logs reveal 12 car break-ins. Officers say thieves are peering in windows, picking out what they like and taking it, such as bookbags that may have a laptop in them or purses with GPS and cell phones. Police say it is too easy for a thief if an item is left out in plain sight in a car.

Detectives responded to car break-ins Jan. 3 through Jan. 7 at restaurants, shops, and private driveways.

Doug Hayan was having a bite to eat when his car was broken into.

"I came out, my back passenger window on my car had been smashed, and somebody had taken the backpack that I had on the seat," said Hayan.

The backpack contained his work computer, valued around $1,000. Another car next to his was also robbed.

"She was very upset, and I could see her running through her mind: how difficult this was going to be to deal with," said Hayan.

Police say car break-ins are a crime of opportunity and nobody is immune from becoming a victim. A sheriff's deputy even had her personal car broken into, in which her work pistol, along with magazines for it, were stolen.

That could pose serious problems for law enforcement officials.

"The last thing we would want to have happen is to have one of our own weapons be used by a criminal, be used in a crime of violence, or against us," explained Sgt. Joe Heffernan with the Toledo Police Department.

Heffernan says these crimes happen fast and sometimes are hard to crack. Still, the best defense against it is common sense.

"The whole point we want to get across is that you have to really watch what you leave in your car. If it's going to be in plain view, if you're going to make it inviting for someone to come into your car, that's what's going to happen," said Heffernan.