Thieves broke into more than 20 vehicles in the last week in Columbia, and police expect more during the holiday shopping season. Officers told ABC 17 News burglars targeted 15 different areas around the city. They hit cars parked outside hotels, on residential streets and near shopping centers. Electronics and cash are the most common but now investigators are seeing a lot more radios, credit cards and jewelry. ABC 17 News even found one person who had his car stripped. Everything was gone, including the back seats. Neighbors are also worried because it is happening more and more. "It happened a lot around here recently. It seems like just next door our other neighbor got robbed only a few months ago," says Britton Wright while looking at a pile of broken glass on the street. Police say despite the increased burglaries, they are not easy to track. "We have certain areas in town that we've seen targeted, certain parking lots, but then they're not returning to those same parking lots," Columbia police officer Latisha Stroer explains. Officers say there have been at least 18 car break-ins over each of the past four weeks. With that in mind, Wright says he is doing everything he can to make sure it does not happen to him. "I just make sure I don't have anything valuable in it and make sure it's locked all the time, try to keep a good eye on it," Wright says. Investigators say about 75 percent of car break-ins involve unlocked doors.
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