Magnolia family targeted by car thieves twice in one week

SEATTLE -- It can happen to anyone and it can happen anywhere; thieves breaking into cars continue to be a big problem across the city.

Jill, a Magnolia resident, didn’t want her last name published but she recently filed a police report.

“I definitely feel violated, especially for me, that everything in my car was touched. My son’s toys were touched, everything was dumped upside down,” Jill said.

A thief walked right up to her driveway, stealing money and sunglasses from her car. Then two days later, her husband's car was pried open.

“They took a couple of $1 bills and his watch,” said Jill.

They live on 36th Avenue West in Magnolia, a picture-perfect street.

“We saved our hard-earned money to move somewhere like that where it is safe,” Jill said.

But even an upscale neighborhood isn't safe from car prowls.

“It happened right outside our son's window where he is sleeping,” said Jill.

A recent surveillance video shows how bold thieves can be. A man walks right up to a driveway in Queen Anne and opens an unlocked car, hoping to find something to steal. It's a crime of opportunity that is rampant across the area.

According to Seattle police, car prowls are up year to year. In September, there were at least 70 car prowls in Queen Anne, about 60 in Ballard, more than 20 in Lake Union and at least 12 in Magnolia.

Downtown Seattle had so many cases it's hard to pinpoint the exact number on SPD’s crime map.

“How can we be smarter about security? How can we alert our neighbors on what’s going on?” said Jill.

Now that she's a victim, she's spreading the word and taking extra steps so a crook doesn’t come back a third time.

“We are thinking about installing additional motion sensors on the street so if someone walks near our car, lights will come on,” Jill said.

Police say always keep your car doors locked and don’t leave things out in the open. If you have a driveway, keep it well-lit. And even if you don’t have surveillance cameras, police say, post a sign saying that you do to keep thieves away.