GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Smash and grabs happening at an alarming rate. The Guilford County Sheriff's Office is warning people about a spike in car break-ins.
Deputies say these crimes are linked to a well-known group called the Felony Lane Gang. Its members have been targeting cars across the country since mid-July.
"People sit in parks and watch people and wait for people to come up and look for their prey," said Master Corporal R.D. Seals.
Criminals are canvassing cars parked at gyms, parks and golf courses throughout the county.
The sheriff's office says areas recently hit include the Jamestown YMCA, Jamestown Park/Golf Course, Northeast Park, Gibson Park and the Oak Hollow Golf Course.
Thieves are targeting mainly purses and wallets left in plain sight. They then use the stolen debit cards within days or even hours.
Deputies says if you must leave valuables behind in your car, hide them in the trunk before you leave home.