WASHINGTON - Police say car break-ins are surging in Prince George's County with 15 occurring overnight, 14 during the night before and 22 happening from Monday night into Tuesday.
So far this year, there have been more than 2,300 thefts from cars, a 14 percent increase over last year, according to Prince George’s County police.
On Twitter, police have started sharing photos of cars broken into. On Friday, police posted a photo of a punch tool used by a suspect to break a car window.
This theft from auto involved using this tool to gain entry to the victim's vehicle in order to steal valuables. 15 overnight, 2,313 YTD. pic.twitter.com/Vb82Raa7iS— PGPDNEWS (@PGPDNews) June 9, 2017
Prince George’s County Police Deputy Chief Sammy Patel said thieves are focusing on shopping center and apartment building parking lots, and while some windows are being broken, it is typically unlocked cars that are targeted.
"The norm is just simply walking up and pulling on the door handle," Patel said. "And we see that over and over and over."
He said recently, the handicapped have been specifically victimized by these thefts.
"We get handicapped placards taken in volumes lately," Patel said. "They will sell them on eBay, they will sell them on different websites, they will sell them on street corners."
He said police are actively looking for people doing this.
"We made an arrest of a juvenile who had a handicapped placard," he said. "We found out he was advertising, selling that placard and that is how we made an arrest on him."
Police said people should make sure to lock up their cars and try to keep your belongings out of sight.