A month ago, Bahavu Agustine's car window was smashed while he was eating at a restaurant in Milpitas Square.
"I just ran outside and saw someone smash the rear glass and my laptop was gone," said Agustine.
According to Milpitas, police suspects tend to target isolated areas in parking lots and retail shopping centers.
Car break-ins are on the rise in Milpitas. 145 auto burglaries in 2019. 🚙 We spoke to @MilpitasPD they tell us shopping centers are considered “hot spots”. These signs are meant to deter criminals & alert shoppers. @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/Sqat6L04PS— Luz Peña (@LuzPenaABC7) March 5, 2019
"We also have been seeing a trend lately that people are securing those items in their trunk but vehicles are being broken into and the rear seats are being pulled down and they're looking into the trunks to see if anything is in there," said Milpitas police Lt. John Torres.
Lt. Torres said they're increasing patrols at Ulfert's Center, Milpitas Square, McCarthy Ranch, and the Great Mall of the Bay Area.
"They spy you and they break in the window, depending where are you, they spy on you and keep in contact over the phone," said Milpitas Square security Ronald Melespin.
Updated caution signs have been placed around shopping centers that read: "Do not leave any valuable items in the car."
Business owners and managers are alerting customers about this rash of break-ins.
This is one of the 100+ police reports filed due to car break-ins in Milpitas this year. @MilpitasPD say criminals are smashing windows and even checking for valuables in the trunk. @abc7newsbayarea 🚗 🚙 👮 pic.twitter.com/LD1XMpfL4F— Luz Peña (@LuzPenaABC7) March 6, 2019
"We tend to tell our customers to not leave valuables in the cars and they say they're hidden. People don't think it's going to happen to them," said restaurant manager Johnny Nguyen.
Surveillance video from targeted parking lots are being used during this investigation.
To report a break-in Milpitas call (408) 586-2400. Information can also be given anonymously by calling the Crime Tip Hotline at (408) 586-2500.