UPDATE: Police warn parents of car thefts at daycare lots

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)- It can happen in second; you leave your unlocked or even running while you drop your kids off at daycare. A moment later, you’re missing credits cards, cash, and your purse.

Police in Western New York are warning parents to think twice about leaving valuables in cars when they drop their kids off.

A slew of car larcenies began on Halloween in Amherst; first, a car at Childtime daycare on Hopkins Road was hit. An hour later, a vehicle in the Doodle Bugs! lot on North French was targeted.

“As soon as we got reports of these larcenies, it’s typical for us to immediately contact other agencies and say hey we have this going on you may want to watch your locations also,” said Lt. Tracy Martin of the Amherst Police Department.

Another Doodle Bugs! location in Clarence reported a similar larceny, so did a daycare in the Town of Tonawanda.

A third Doodle Bugs! location in Cheektowaga would have been hit, but according to police the suspects saw a worker and took off.

Ruth Cleary runs Ripen With Us daycare in Kenmore. She was surprised to hear about the thefts, but said she’s not worried.

Her daycare took proactive measures a couple months ago when it installed a surveillance system.

“It’s on 24 hours a day. It films things in case there should be any disruptions or concerns,” she told News 4.

Police told us some of the cars were in fact locked, but valuables were left inside. Credit cards and purses were taken.

Investigators believe the same people are likely responsible for each crime; they’re currently looking for a black late model Hyundai with tinted windows, and say one of the suspects is a white male in his 30s.

“It’s a crime of opportunity. People are pulling into day care centers and the vehicle is already there and they’re watching,” Lt. Martin told News 4.

Doodle Bugs! released the following statement to News 4:

“Doodle Bugs! is aware of the incidents this week at local child care facilities and is reminding all parents and faculty to always be vigilant. Keep car doors locked and hide valuables from plain sight.”

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