Thieves targeting GPS systems

March 14, 2008 2:49:43 PM PDT
Delmar Allen is one of an increasing number of car break-in victims in Philadelphia.

His car was hit when parked behind his house in Northeast Philadelphia during the light hours of the evening. His wallet and GPS system were stolen.

"I had a portable navigation system. What made it so bad, I took it off the window. Didn't lock. I took it out of sight, out of mind," said Allen.

Apparently GPS systems are on the minds of thieves targeting cars these days.

Police believe a 62 percent increase in car break-ins can be largely attributed to GPS thefts.

Just this week, police charged 19-year-old William Weiss with 13 car break-ins near the Franklin Mills Mall between February and March.

In nine cases, he targeted GPS systems.

"He just broke into your car, damaged the window, which is going cost you 100 bucks to replace. He took a $500 item. He's probably going to get 25 to 50 for it at the corner bar," Capt. Jack McGinnis.

Car break-in thieves want cash or things they can quickly convert to cash. Things like purses and wallets, laptops and electronics.

One of the biggest thefts happened on Thursday when someone stole $3,000 worth of construction tools out of a car parked at the Home Depot at Adams Avenue and the Roosevelt Boulevard.

"It's easy to break-in a car and steal things inside. You leave things visible inside your car, and it probably takes less than 5 seconds. They break out the window of a car, reach in take what they want and move on," said McGinnis.

The increased break-ins are troubling to the hard working folk of Philadelphia.

"I cover all my stuff up when I put it in there with jackets and old stuff and cleaning supplies," said Danny Esbensen.

Police do advise people to never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk and out of sight if possible.