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Auto burglars stalking shopping center in Turlock
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The holiday season may have not begun in earnest yet, but that is not stopping thieves from preying on those shopping and dining in Turlock.
The Turlock Police Department reported five vehicles were broken into Tuesday night in the Monte Vista Crossings shopping and restaurant areas. In all of the auto burglaries the vehicle owners had left purses or backpacks visible, said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Steve Rodrigues.

The thefts all were reported between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tuesday. One was reported in the Walmart parking lot at Fulkerth Road and Countryside Drive, two were reported in restaurant parking lots on Countryside Drive, one was reported at a restaurant parking lot on Entertainment Way, and one was reported at a restaurant parking lot on Hotel Drive.

During the holiday shopping season in 2015 of all the auto burglaries reported in the Monte Vista Crossings shopping centers, 88 percent of them had personal items, like purses and shopping bags, in the vehicle that were visible to anyone looking in, according to the Turlock Police Department.

The majority of the auto burglaries last season happened between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Rodrigues said.

To help educate people on preventing auto burglaries the Turlock Police Department released a video they made in which they walked through some of the parking lots outside the stores and windows and pointed out how some people were more vulnerable to break-ins because of leaving items visible and in some cases leaving windows partially rolled down.

Shoppers and diners are advised to make sure their vehicles are locked, the windows completely closed, and no possessions left in plain view, said Rodrigues.

This holiday season the Turlock Police Department will be conducting extra patrols in shopping centers to deter thieves away.