WITH summer fast approaching, police are warning beach-goers to take precautions to deter thieves who loiter around many coastal car parks. Sergeant Luke Holmes says car owners often leave valuables clearly on display in beach car parks, which is just asking for trouble. “This can be anything from mobile phones through to just 50 cents in loose change,” Sgt Holmes said. “Some criminals can very desperate and they will smash their way into a car for very little.” Local police patrolling car parks notice many vehicles that are left either completely unlocked or with windows down when their owners wander off for a swim. Quite often, the damage caused to vehicles by thieves ends up being far greater than any cash stolen from glove boxes and centre consoles. “It is often the case that a thief has stolen no more than $10 in change but the car owner is left with a $150 damage bill,” Sgt Holmes said. “We know that criminals will sit and watch and wait for someone to leave their car and then target that car as they know the owner won’t be back for some time. “This is also the case when valuables are left on display on the beach when someone goes into the water.” Surfers in particular are frequent targets for thieves, and the victims don’t help themselves by making it easy for criminals. “Criminals know that surfers quite often leave their keys on the rear wheel of their car,” Sgt Holmes explained. “We know thieves who will specifically attend a known surf beach and search cars for keys. “When they find them they will steal from within the car and, sometimes, the car itself. “We ask beach-goers, and in particular surfers, to look at combination locks known as ‘Surflock’, which can secure someone’s keys in a small combination padlock safe. “These can be purchased online by doing a simple Google search.” Sgt Holmes said items that should not be left on display in parked vehicles include: – Money (even small change) – Keys (both to the car and house) – Wallets, handbags and backpacks, irrespective of whether there’s money inside – Credit cards – Mobiles – Laptops, iPods and other music players. “We want all beach goers to enjoy their summer this year but take simple steps to avoid having their day spoiled when they get back to their car to find their valuables gone,” Sgt Holmes concluded. If you spot any suspicious activity in a beach car park this summer, contact Wonthaggi Police on 5671 4100.
Lock it or lose it at the beach