Thieves target unlocked cars to steal valuables

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Most people feel safe in their own homes and don’t expect to become victims of a crime. However, investigators say that might be a problem after crooks broke into several cars near Round Rock.

Video taken from a homeowner’s surveillance camera in the Chandler Creek neighborhood shows a man walking up her driveway, then opening her car door in the middle of the night.

Julie Kretschmar says she thought her car door was locked.

In the video, you see the thief then try to get in her boyfriend’s car but walk away when he realized it was not open. You then see him open the door to their neighbor’s truck.

“We were leaving to go out, and we put the kids in the car, and that’s when we realized everything was just thrown everywhere,” Kretschmar said. “That’s when I knew, ‘My car has been broken into.’”

“I’m hoping they’ll be able to catch him and put him in jail,” said her boyfriend Eric Long. “Catch him and whoever else was involved.”

Crimes like this act as a wake-up call for many. Leaving your car unlocked is not safe, even in your own driveway.

Crooks also recently hit a South Austin neighborhood. Surveillance video shows another thief doing the same thing to a car with unlocked doors.

“We have two baby girls, and we want to have a nice, safe neighborhood. And just all the criminal element — we don’t want of it,” said Long.

“You just feel violated,” added Kretschmar. “I didn’t even want to get in the car after that. You just don’t know who’s been in your car, and I don’t like it.”

The thieves seem to be after cash and other personal belongings.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several other car break-ins in that area.

In the latest published data from 2012, Round Rock had 336 burglaries. Austin had 7,244 burglaries that year.

When you factor in population, Round Rock still has almost one-third as many burglaries. That’s three cases for every 1,000 people, compared to nine in Austin.

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