Deputies warn of ‘smash and grab’ thefts in Oak Ridge

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OAK RIDGE, N.C. -- In the last month, Oak Ridge Town Park has been the scene several vehicle breaking and enterings, better known as "smash and grabs."

Det. C.A. Rogers, of the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, said the crime pattern began in September.

On Oct. 25 there were three reports and on the 28th four reports of similar crimes.

"The time frame ranges from 9 o'clock in the morning on some of those instances and others as late as 7:30 and 8 o'clock at night," Rogers said.

Many of the victims went for a short jog or walk with their dog and returned to their vehicle with windows smashed and purses stolen.

"The victims are doing the right thing; they're locking their cars and they're actually trying to hide their pocketbooks with covering with items. But I do believe and officers feel that the suspects are already in the parking lot watching," Rogers said.

Investigators believe the thieves are professionals because they are doing more than simply stealing the items in the vehicle.

"We have had occasions where they're using the stolen credit cards but then two to three weeks later is when transactions take place on their identity and checking accounts using one victims information trying to get cash and checks from another victims account," Rogers said.

Investigators have a vehicle description of a black GMC Arcadia with Florida plates.

Deputies advise park walkers to continue to lock their doors, place their belongings in a trunk or leave them at home.