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Very heavy rains in the Lakes Area today due to seabreeze and upper level disturbance moving thru the Central and southern Plains. Too windy in the Triangle on Tuesday for a big coverage as the winds kept the seabreeze from Developing. Weak high pressure aloft will build in Wed and stick around for a few days. Plenty of moisture underneath the ...

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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Auto theft down in SETX but drivers need to be vigilant

BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet

Automobile thefts are down in Southeast Texas, but investigators say many Southeast Texans are still making themselves an easy target for auto-theft. Locking your car door is something investigators say many people don't do when making a quick stop.

"Well, I figured I'm just going in and getting something to drink, getting something to snack on, figured I could just see it through the window and it would be alright," said Antonio Rodriguez, who stopped at a convenience store in Beaumont and left his car unlocked while he was inside.

"Ya, I figure I can keep an eye on it," said Greg Collins, who stopped at the same convenience store, and also didn't lock his car.

Investigator Roger Ross with the Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force says always lock your car, don't leave your keys, and either hide your valuables before you arrive at your destination, or take them with you.

"If you take your keys, and you lock your doors, and you set your alarm properly, you've just cut your chances down about 80 percent of having your car stolen," said Ross.

He says a surprising number of people leave their keys in their vehicle.

"Each year 30 to 50 percent of the cars stolen in the state have the keys in them," said Ross. "They're bailing out of convenience store, a movie drop box, day cares. We see that too, they have two or three children in the car. So, I have to take this child into this building, so they leave the other children in the car with it running."

Ross says not only is it illegal to leave your car running unattended, it's also illegal to leave children six-years-old and younger in the car unattended. He says the task force has investigated cases where vehicles were stolen with the drivers' children still inside.

This year, car and truck thefts in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, and Jasper Counties decreased by five percent. Auto thefts in Southeast Texas have decreased by 81 percent since the task force began.

"When you look back to where the task force began in March, 1993, we only had Jefferson County, one county, and that one county had 2,700 auto thefts in it. Well last year that county had 539," said Ross.

Ross credits task force training of officers, law enforcement targeting thieves, and educating drivers so they don't have to learn from experience, like Jody Reho.

"People get in cars, my car has been gotten into quite a bit over my life so I just always keep it locked when I'm popping in anywhere," said Reho.

Because it only takes a moment for a thief to strike.

To see tips on how to protect your vehicle, click here to visit the Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force Facebook page.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS TOP TEN STOLEN VEHICLES FOR 2013

1) Chevrolet full-size truck

2) Ford full-size truck

3) Honda Accord

4) General Motors full-size truck

5) Dodge full-size truck

6) Toyota Camry

7) Chevrolet Impala

8) Chevrolet Suburban

9) Ford Expedition

10) Ford Explorer

 

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