It's everyone's worst nightmare. You come back to your car, see a broken window and glass scattered all over the sidewalk.
Everything else? Gone.
No laptop you left under the passenger seat. No GPS on your front window. Even the few dollars you save for toll in the glove compartment -- gone.
Derek Wong was on his way home from dinner at a Santa Clara Restaurant when he found his car broken into. He says, "I felt horrible. Not only my laptop, but everything I had in there. I had financial documents, tax returns, baby pictures."
Santa Clara Detective Frank Saunders says thieves can steal more than just your things. Sometimes these smash and grabs progress into identity theft. Don't leave things like personal financial statements in your car or even your garage door opener.
No area is immune. Willow Glen, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Noe Valley, Pacific Heights and the Rockridge area of Oakland have all recorded several car break-ins this year.
Police says the best thing you can do to protect your vehicle is to keep it "sterile." This means hiding all valuables such as laptops, GPS units and cell phones in secure areas, like your trunk. Even better, take them with you.
Saunders says the best way to see your stolen goods again: Get your California driver's license or California identification number etched onto your property. That way, if police ever find any of your things, they'll know how to find you.
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