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Harford County Deputies Investigating Car Break-Ins & Thefts

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — An uptick of car break-ins hits Harford County. Now the Sheriff’s Department is urging car owners to be smart.

Christie Ileto explains.

Lock up! That’s what Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies are telling residents after a rash of car break-ins sweeps through the county.

“It’s unsettling to know it’s happening that close to home,” said one resident.

But authorities say some residents are making these crimes of opportunity too easy.

“The one trend we’re continuing to see, which is causing us alarm, is probably citizen complacency,” said Edward Hopkins, Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

Mid-day Monday, walking down Main Street in downtown Bel Air, WJZ spotted a number of cars with doors unlocked, welcoming thieves.

“Vehicle owners had either left their vehicle unlocked in a parking lot with the engine running, or left personal possessions in clear view in the front seat, thereby enticing a thief,” said Hopkins.

Deputies have responded to 492 car break-ins this year. About 100 of them were reported in July in which thieves stole purses, wallets and electronics.

Deputies say one suspect is behind just a dozen of them.

“Yeah, we’ve had a few in our neighborhood,” said Mary Gin Rettman.

Deputies say that means be smart and don’t make yourself a target.

Anecdotally speaking, police say less than 10 percent of the almost 500 cases have arrests.

The Sheriff’s Office says there were 417 car break-ins last year.

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