WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Residents of several West Columbia neighborhoods are on high alert after dozens of cars are being broken into late at night and during the early morning.
The West Columbia Police Department said Wednesday there have been numerous reports of break-ins in the Westover Acres neighborhood off of Sunset Boulevard in the last several days. The Lexington County Sheriff's Department says in some areas, break-ins are up 40 percent.
Ashley Michelle Carrowan lives in the Dove Trace subdivision in West Columbia and has already fallen victim to a break-in.
"I woke up early to go heat up the car to take the kids to school and when I got out there everything had been thrown around, the glovebox was open and everything that had been inside was on the seat," she said.
She filed a report and said the thieves made off with a deactivated debit card, some medication, and petty cash.
"It's frustrating because my car was locked," she said. "When you're doing everything you're supposed to be doing and this still happens it's frustrating and everyone is on edge."
The sheriff's department said many of the break-ins involve unlocked cars, in which thieves walk through neighborhoods trying door handles to see which will open.
"This is a crime of opportunity," Sgt. Shaun Spivey with the Lexington County Sheriff's Department said. "These criminals don't care who they victimize, they just want to make off with things that will make them money."
Sgt. Spivey encourages people to lock their car doors and bring anything of value inside. Both the West Columbia Police Department and sheriff's department are looking for suspects in dozens of break-ins.