San Rafael police warn shoppers not to leave holiday gifts in car

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- You've probably left your bags with Christmas gifts inside your car in plain sight before and have gone back inside the mall to get one more item or grab some lunch.

However, police in San Rafael are telling shoppers, "Please don't!" "Take your packages with you or lock them up in the trunk," San Rafael police Sgt. Raul Aguilar said.

We did a ride-a-long with Aguilar as he drove around the Northgate Mall parking lot. San Rafael police began patrolling malls and shopping centers Thursday night as people kicked off their holiday shopping, and they will continue to add patrol units through the holiday season.
At one point, Aguilar invited ABC7 News' Lyanne Melendez to get out of the police vehicle to take a closer look at what people had left inside their cars. We found shopping bags with Christmas gifts, and other personal items. One car had seven bags in full display. We could see the person had purchased, sweaters and expensive UGG boots. "It wouldn't take too long. Somebody can use a window punch, hit the window and it will shatter immediately. They reach in, toss it to their assistant and they'd be out in seconds," Aguilar said after revealing a small device used in break-ins.

Police say be aware of your surroundings, make sure your car is locked and don't leave anything inside your vehicle.
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