SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – Growing up in Siouxland, Amy Niewohner says she never put much thought into leaving her belongings inside her car.
“Usually, when I get in my car I throw my purse in the back seat,” says Niewohner, “I’ve grown up with don’t lock your doors kind of a thing.”
These were the same thoughts that five other women parking along D Street in South Sioux City during daylight hours had.
“I walked outside and I saw the window next to me had been broken. I figured it must have been from the cold,” says Niewohner.
But the weather had nothing to do with it. Instead, it was a thief, snatching the purses and personal belongings of five women within a short 15 minute time span.
“It was really shocking and just upsetting to happen,” says Niewohner.
And officials say it can happen even quicker than that.
South Sioux City Operations Officer, Chris Chernock says, “Seconds. If you think about it, the mechanics of looking through a window, seeing something, either opening an unlocked door or breaking into the door takes less than 20 seconds.”
This is what makes these thieves so hard for law enforcement to catch. But you can help keep them from striking in the first place.
Chernock says, “If they don’t see anything they’re moving on to the next vehicle. So that’s the key is to not leave valuables out in plain sight.”
Doing things like locking items in the trunk or even just tucking them under the seat can help prevent a break-in.
Niewohner says, “I guess especially around this time of year keep your stuff covered up or take it in with you even if it’s just for a little bit.”