COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Some residents living in one Columbia apartment complex woke up Tuesday to find their cars broken into, their windows smashed, or even worse their cars were stolen.
These incidents happened at Columbia's Reserve at Riverwalk off of Broad River Road Monday night. The Columbia Police Department say they are now investigating at least 10 cases from one night.
"We did have officers out there last night patrolling the area," Lieutenant CB Williams of Columbia's north region said. "We are going to increase the patrol and put vehicles out to see and watch over to make sure we catch these people."
For residents like Kristen Bettencourt and Courtney Lindler, it was a startling wake-up call.
"I saw that it was smashed and there was glass everywhere," Bettencourt said.
Bettencourt's window was smashed just feet away from her apartment.
"We noticed there was more than one car in this exact area [with windows that were] smashed," Bettencourt said. "As we were filling out the police report, more calls kept coming up that there were multiple break-ins and a car was actually stolen from here."
Bettencourt says her window was smashed in, but luckily she does not keep valuables inside of her car.
"It's hard to know what we could have done differently because we parked right in front, everything was locked, there was nothing in sight," Bettencourt explained. "They definitely went through the glove compartment because papers were out."
In other incident reports, a gun, car keys, and at least $20 was stolen from other vehicles.
In the two years that Bettencourt says she's lived in the area, incidents like this were never a concern. Now she says she'll be double-checking the locks before bed.
Down the road, the Richland County Sheriff's Department says they are also investigating multiple of auto-break-ins near the Saint Andrews Road area. As of now, it's not sure if the two cases are connected.
Williams said it's important to lock your vehicle doors, take your valuable items out, put bags in the trunk, and be aware of your surroundings.