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Police offer tips to stop holiday theft

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
@rikkiking
Published:
LYNNWOOD — It only took the hooded culprit 30 seconds to break the car’s window and make off with the goods.
He hopped back into his car with a few hundred dollars’ worth of someone else’s belongings and made a clean getaway.
The culprit was Everett police officer Butch Rockwell, who was showing just how quickly and easily vehicle prowls are to execute.
About 15 local police departments took part in the demonstration Tuesday afternoon at Alderwood mall. The idea was to remind people that the holiday shopping season can be a boon to criminals.
“You usually see a rash of incidents in the holiday period,” said Cheol Kang, a crime prevention officer in Mukilteo.
Police ramp up their education efforts this time of year to reduce the number of people who become victims, he said.
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Lt. John Flood said he sees as many as 25 percent more car prowls this time of year, even in rural parts of the county.
Holiday stress can add to shoppers being careless or preoccupied, Flood said. It’s important for people to be aware of their surroundings as they walk to their cars. The best thing for people to do is make a plan before their shopping trips — especially if they’re bringing kids along.
If people are going to put shopping bags in their car and continue shopping, they should move their car in between trips, he said. There are criminals who hang out in parking lots looking for those kinds of opportunities.
Some curious shoppers stopped by Tuesday’s event to chat with the cops about holiday crime prevention.
Wes May, 22, of Lynnwood, was dropping off his girlfriend for work when he noticed the mock car prowls in progress.
He shook his head at how easily the car’s window crumbled and the navigational system disappeared.
“It could honestly be that simple,” he said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Car Theft

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