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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 2:33 am | Fair 42º


More Car Break-ins Reported at Santa Barbara County Hiking Trailheads

A rash of daytime vehicle break-ins and thefts from automobiles at Santa Barbara County trailheads has spurred police to remind the public to use caution while parking.

Ten vehicles were burglarized while parked at Nojoqui Falls Trail and Gaviota Hot Springs Trail since Dec. 8, according to Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Thieves carried out a smash-and-grab burglary and all items were stolen, Hoover said.

In all of the cases, citizens locked their vehicles but were likely targeted because they left their car unattended for an extended time, according to Hoover.

Police also received reports of auto burglaries at Lizard’s Mouth on W. Camino Cielo, the trailhead at Las Canoas Road and Mountain Drive, as well as the trailhead located in the 3400 block of Gibraltar Dam Road, Hoover said.

The Sheriff’s Office has increased its patrols but encourages the public to be aware and to take proper precautions to avoid becoming a victim, Hoover said.

"While there is no specific evidence linking the crimes, there is reason to believe that the same person or people are responsible," Hoover said.

Anyone with information regarding the auto burglaries is asked to contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office at 805.683.2724.

Anonymous tips can be made at 805.681.4171.

The vehicle burglaries come around the same time the Santa Barbara Police Department responded to a handful of car break-ins.

Three vehicles were burglarized at the Jesusita Trail and one was burglarized at the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge on Dec. 11, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.

SBPD issued an advisory reminding residents parking at trailheads to lock their vehicles and avoid storing valuables in them. 

Wallets, purses, backpacks, cell phones and other small electronic devices are items that are frequently stolen, Harwood said.

To help prevent becoming a victim of an auto burglary, the Sheriff’s Office has provided the following tips:

­» Lock your door.

» Close your windows. 

» Never leave valuables in plain sight. Lock all valuables in the trunk or take them with you. 

» Always take your keys with you after you park your vehicle. 

» Remove or hide your garage remote when you leave your vehicle unattended. 

» Set your car alarm every time you park your vehicle. 

» Do not use spare keys hidden on or in your vehicle. Consider a spare key in your wallet instead. 

» Park and lock your vehicle in your garage whenever possible. 

» Remove personal information such as driver license, registration, etc. from unattended vehicles. 

» Suspicious activity should be reported to police by calling 9-1-1.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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