GREENSBORO, N.C. —While patrolling downtown, Officer Steve Langholz often sees mistakes which make drivers easy targets for thieves.
He says things such as cell phones, lap tops and other valuable items are often left in cars which are spotted by thieves and then stolen -- a problem he’s turned into a passion for the past year and a half.
"It's just the right thing to do, to get people back what's been taken from them,” Langholz said.
Langholz has not only investigated car break-ins, vandalism and thefts, but has taken it one step further, hand delivering items stolen from cars back to the owners.
"A lot of times it's that personal touch that we can give back,” he said.
Langholz and a team of four other community resource officers use pawn shops, serial numbers, Craigslist and other websites to track down the owners of stolen items.
So far they've returned dozens.
"We've recovered purses, wallets, of course, GPS systems [and] personal phones," he said.
In about half of those break-ins, Langholz said cars were unlocked.
“They feel like it's their fault,” he said.
In 2013, Greensboro averaged 43 car break-ins per week.
During 2014, that number dropped to 39, but police said that's still not low enough.
"We do want to focus on it and drive those numbers down as much as possible,” Douglas Campbell, a community resource officer,said.
Until they do go down, Langholz will continue to help victim's restore their peace of mind, one recovered item at a time.
"It's still a little piece of something that was taken from them that needs to be returned," Langholz said.