State Police warning holiday shoppers to take caution

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — After hitting the mall for holiday shopping a lot of people will put gifts in the back seat of their cars, sometimes leaving them there for hours. It’s an easy mistake to make that could make you the victim of a holiday crime.

“Depending on what items you have they may break a window to gain access to your car to grab those items quick and move on,” said New York State Trooper James O’Callaghan.

While holiday shoppers are busy checking off items on their lists, police say thieves are scanning parking lots looking for valuables and gifts that would be easy to steal. Don’t forget to keep your car doors locked.

“A lot of people will go to restaurants in between shopping but if it’s visible you have to assume somebody while you’re in a store, while you’re in a restaurant, has tried to open your door,” said O’Callaghan.

“I try to make sure that everything is covered up so nobody would have a reason to go into my car,” said a holiday shopper.

State Police also advise against shopping solo. Especially when you have a shopping cart full of gifts, the more people you have with you the less likely you are to become a victim.

“Doesn’t happen often but you’re also susceptible to be a target if you’re by yourself if you are holding a big ticket item for a forcible robbery,” said O’Callaghan.

If someone approaches you in a parking lot and tries to sell you an item, Trooper O’Callaghan says it’s likely a sham.

“People take advantage, they’ll buy it for $20, $50 get back to their vehicle and realize it’s a fraud. Do not buy anything from anybody in a parking lot of any store,” said O’Callaghan.

Whether you’re shopping in stores or online, take caution.

“When you get stuff delivered to your house packages, those packages can be stolen off of your door step in front of your garage door,” said O’Callaghan.

Keep your gifts out of sight. Pack them in your trunk so you don’t become the victim of a holiday crime.

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