LOVES PARK (WIFR) -- We usually think of our garage as a safe place for our cars but Loves Park police say that's not always the case. Thieves have been stealing cars right out of garages and police are asking neighbors to be more watchful.
Mark Stouffer has lived in Loves Park for more than 30 years...and says he's learned the hard way not to park his car on the street.
"I’ve had a couple cars broke into, especially around graduation time, kids get frisky and shoot windows out with BB guns,” says Mark Stouffer.
It’s more than broken car windows that neighbors need to be worried about these days. According to Loves Park Police Chief Jim Puckett, thieves are now going after our cars, and not even when they're sitting out on the street, but in our garages. Puckett says it happened three times over a two day period. Each time the garage door was up and the keys were in ignition.
"It's an opportunity waiting to happen, for someone to steal the vehicle,” says Police Chief Jim Puckett. “Garage doors are wide open and say come and take whatever you want."
Puckett adds that cars parked on the street have also been stolen; those were also unlocked with the keys inside, a situation some neighbors find puzzling.
“I just can’t believe how brazen people are. I mean the guts for people to walk up into your garage and just open it up and take off with it,” says lifelong Loves Park resident Kim Massetti. “I just don't understand people not locking their cars up and then people having the gall to go up and steal the cars."
"Nowadays there's no respect for property lines or anything else. A car's nothing to someone who wants something," says Stouffer.
Police say the simplest solution is to always lock your car and never leave the keys inside. The thefts happened in several neighborhoods in Loves Park and police think one group of people may have been involved in all of these crimes. Some of the cars have been recovered but others are still missing.