by: Tina Terry Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Surveillance video captures a man scoping out a parking lot and then breaking into a car, according to police.
Officers in the University area are still search for the burglar and said crimes like that have spike. Police said most of the crimes happen at night. They said thieves wait until a person leaves his or her car.
The thieves then check to see if the doors are unlocked and search for anything they can steal.
The surveillance video showed how fast a thief can break into your car. Police said one man circled a parking lot of IBM Drive in north Charlotte, and then he parked and waited. The video showed a black SUV pulls up. The driver parks and walks to work. The thief then parks closer and breaks into the car.
Police said he didn’t find anything worth taking, but the whole thing took less than 60 seconds.
“It takes only a few seconds to break a glass check for an unlocked door get inside see if there is anything of value and then they're gone again,” said Lt. Dave Johnson.
Johnson said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers in the University area are still searching for the man in the video from last month.
They've noticed a recent spike in crimes like this.
“Since the first of the year we're up 35 percent overall in auto thefts and car break-ins,” Johnson said.
Johnson took Channel 9 on a ride-along as he patrolled parking lots.
“We've increased patrols, undercover officers, bait vehicles to try and lure some of these guys to break in and steal things,” he said.
Since December, University City officers have arrested nearly 20 suspects for breaking into cars or stealing them.
Now they're asking for the public's help.
“Remove valuables from the car. If there is nothing to steal they won't be victimized,” he said.
CMPD said they’ve had about 150 fewer car break-ins than they did this time last year.