ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is urging residents to lock their vehicles after a surge in car break-ins.
Rauf Zeerak’s is one of the dozens of victims. A crook illegally slipped into his unlocked car on June 16. His car was parked outside his home in the Willow Trace neighborhood. Zeerak says his wallet was stolen and gift cards with a balance of more than $100 were taken as well. The thief went on a shopping spree and ate at a McDonald's on Zeerak’s dime, racking up just under $200 on his credit card.
Zeerak has lived in the neighborhood for six years and describes his community as nice and quiet.
“People go to nice neighborhoods to steal stuff,” Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jim Hills said.
He says in June alone, nearly 50 vehicle break-ins were reported, about half were cars left unlocked.
Hills shared three videos of thieves slipping into open cars illegally. Crooks have stolen personal items, live ammunition, and guns. Hills says stolen weapons can easily land in the wrong hands.
“It’s just a dangerous situation,” he said.
Hills says locking your vehicle and removing personal items can save you a headache and from the possibility of identity theft, which can take years to recover from the personal hit. He stressed the importance of using the garage to store cars and locking the doors.
Zeerak says he learned his lesson and won’t leave any of his vehicle doors unlocked again. He says he has lost time on the phone with the credit card company, hundreds of dollars, and now has to wait a month before he can get a new driver’s license.