WELD COUNTY, Colo. -- Your property is at risk while you're away at work -- that's what the Weld County Sheriff is telling residents living in the area.
From January to June of 2016, burglaries spiked 62 percent over the same period a year ago, according to the sheriff’s department.
“We’ve seen a definite spike in thefts, burglaries,” said Michael Knee, patrol deputy with the Weld County Sheriff’s Department Strike team which looks at patternized crime. "Weld County is 4,000 square miles."
And that's the scariest part about this increase in theft. Deputies like Knee said this theft ring isn't just targeting one area.
"It looks like it's kind of random,” said Matt Turner, spokesman with the sheriff’s office. “And the reason for that is they're looking for targets of opportunity."
One recent victim in Kersey came home to find four thieves emptying out his home.
"There was a gray (Chevy) Duramax truck that was backed up to the house, and there were men inside the house."
The homeowner said the truck sped away, but not before crashing into a tree in his yard, damaging the antenna and the rear window.
Easy targets include garage doors left open and unlocked doors.
"They want to be able to go in and get something that they can sell quick and easy," said Turner.
Your best defense, according to experts, is to keep your house locked up, even when you’re home. Also, Deputy Knee said to take a home inventory: a quick video with your phone of every room in your home.
And keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighborhood.
"Maybe the hair on the back of your neck kind of raises up, (and you’re) going, ‘that's just odd. It's out of place.’ Then call us," Knee said.
It's not just homes.
The sheriff's department said an unusually high number of businesses are being targeted, as well as oil and gas sites where there's a lot of scrap metal and other materials that can be sold for cash.
Knee said if you are the victim of theft, ignore the instinct to go into your home and look for what is missing.
“Don’t start looking through drawers that you know have been rummaged through,” Knee said. “That kind of compromises that physical evidence.”
And, he said, always report anything out of the ordinary.
“That can turn into something huge and can actually break these patternized crimes wide open.”