Police: thieves have new way to steal from you during holidays - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Police: thieves have a new way to steal from you during holidays

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Planning on doing some holiday shopping over the next few weeks? Make sure you're not making yourself an easy target for thieves.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officers will be ramping up their presence at area malls and shopping centers but say they need the public's help, too.

Kelly Mattei, a shopper from Charlotte, says she already has her game plan for the holiday shopping season.

"A woman carrying lot of bags is a target because you're defenseless," she said. "I always have my car keys ready. If I have my daughter with me, I make sure that she moves quickly. She knows you don't linger in a parking lot but especially during the holidays."

"You have to have a victim to have a crime," said CMPD Lt. Brian Foley.

The retail heavy Northlake Mall area is part of his division and he points out they'll be looking to victimize you any way they can.

"They're gonna peeping, they're gonna be looking," he demonstrated. "They may come down and try [the] door handle."

But it's not just car break-ins you have to worry about. There's a new way thieves are stealing from you.

"Somebody comes out with one of these -- a cell phone," said Lt. Foley. "We lay it on a counter top while we're paying our bill at a store. We turn one second and someone reaches right over the counter top and this disappears."

He says that's why you should treat your cell phone like a stack of one hundred dollar bills. You wouldn't leave those on the counter in a store, would you?

Another no-no? Keeping big-ticket items like TVs in your car. Lt. Foley says make that extra trip home to drop it off.

"And believe me, if you think a bad guy can't tell that you've just thrown a blanket over a box, they can tell," he pointed out.

Inconvenient, yes -- but Mattei says she does -- all the time.

"That's what I do -- I just take them home," she said. "I sound crazy, but I take everything home after I purchase it. I don't leave anything in the car."

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