Videos show examples of rising car thefts in St. Pete - FOX 13 News

Videos show examples of rising car thefts in St. Pete

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

St. Petersburg Police once again re-enforced a time-worn warning: stow your valuables, lock your vehicles.

They also provided three home security videos of auto burglaries in progress, and a recent victim: Chaleeta Green.

"I learned to definitely lock up, and not to leave valuables in the car," she told reporters, after describing the theft of her purse and GPS last week.

"It's my fault, because I left my car unlocked, so it's kind of like I had a sign on my door -- come rob me," she said, adding "I felt violated. This is my house, it's my driveway, I mean I pay for my car, I pay my bills, I shouldn't have to worry about locking everything up."

Since 2012, auto burglaries in St. Petersburg have risen 45 percent. Another alarming statistic: In most cases 87 percent of items are stolen from unlocked vehicles or unsecured truck beds. The remaining 13 percent usually involve a target.

"When they're smashing out a window, there's usually something that they can see of value there," Sgt. Brian Taylor said. "They see a purse, a wallet, an iPhone, GPS, things of that nature that they can re-sell and make money off of."

Taylor strolled through a downtown parking lot and pointed out examples easily seen through untinted car windows: a cell phone, a credit card, a GPS navigator. "This is a typical parking lot, this isn't staged or anything."

Other coveted items include car keys [many couples keep an extra set of their partner's keys in their vehicle] and garage door openers.

"If they leave them in their cars, it's a key to their house," Taylor said, leaving the most frightful possibility for last. "People leave firearms in their car all the time, which is crazy to leave a loaded firearm in an unlocked car."

Another detective told FOX 13 News about one or two firearms are taken in auto burglaries every week.

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