APD: Auto Burglaries Skyrocketing

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Be warned: they are hitting at every time of day in every type of setting.  Amarillo police say an unusually high number of auto burglaries are happening south of I-40.

93 last week, more than 100 the week before, and police say there is no rhyme or reason for the spike in the crime.

Sgt. Brent Barbee with Amarillo Police says, "our auto burglaries are happening at nights in neighborhoods, in parking lots along the interstate, at 4:30 in the afternoon in broad daylight, so we can't link it to anything in particular."

But they can tell you the burglars are watching you because "it's very common for them to do surveillance or figure out where the purses are," says Barbee.

A common scenario for police is mothers running their children to daycare.  Sgt. Barbee says, "very commonly, the mother will not take in her purse, she's just going in to drop off her kid. We've worked that angle for a while."

But the burglars are not limiting themselves to mothers only, and that is why Barbee wants all residents to take their belongings out of the car, so they do not end up as evidence at the police department.

Sgt. Barbee says, "we see wallets, we see GPS instruments, IPods, these are all things that are really better if you can bring them in."

This warning is also going out to students at Amarillo College.

Amarillo College Police Chief Mike Duval says, "we're telling them to be aware of their vehicle, an example is they'll go off, they'll leave some things on their seats that are valuable and that's what thieves look for."

Chief Duval says they have already caught one burglar in the act.

Sgt. Barbee says they, too, are making some headway in tracking down the criminals.  Just today, he says officers put three people in jail.