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ADAMS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
After several counties in southern Mississippi reported a new crime trend known as "hole-punch" car thieves, the Adams County Sheriff's Office is taking action against the movement hitting their communities.
The ACSO issued a reminder to all county residents to show constant vigilance and awareness of their surroundings and belongings, especially regarding automobiles.
"The latest 'MO' is to punch out the door locks just below the key pad with tools, a hole-punch used by metal workers and a hammer, usually on the passenger side of the car so that you don't notice immediately," explains Sheriff Mayfield.
According to Sheriff Mayfield, Adams County Deputies are undergoing training to heighten awareness of this method of burglary and to look for these type tools.
"If a suspect has a hammer and a hole-punch tool in their car and no other metal working tools, we will consider them to be burglary tools," Sheriff Mayfield said.
Even with this new quick and easy method of burglary, Sheriff Mayfield still urges the public to lock their vehicles.
"Also to delay discovery, [thieves] are not taking the whole purse or wallet, just the cash or credit cards, maybe a gun that you keep under the seat or valuables in the glove box. So again, you don't notice right away and they have plenty of time to flee the scene," warns Mayfield.
Often it appeared the thieves were just moseying through the parking lot or down the street when they spotted something of value sitting in the car.
"It's important that people remember to keep their car or truck doors locked, on the street or in your own garage or carport, it doesn't matter where it is. It should be secured," Mayfield said. "Also, don't leave anything in your car or truck that's valuable to you. Most thieves will go from car to car along a street or in a parking lot trying door handles to see which is open."
Often times, this type of crime is one of opportunity. If you've dashed into your child's school to drop off a note or into a restaurant for take-out, for example, you could easily come out to find that someone swiped what was left in a vehicle. Sheriff Mayfield says that means the suspects were probably sitting in a car watching people or walking around nearby in the lot or on the street prior to the burglary.
"They are looking for cash or something that can be pawned or sold immediately. Take purses and wallets out of the car," advises Mayfield. "Sometimes the victims were only gone for 10 minutes."
Sheriff Mayfield says neighbors can be the best defense for their own valuables or for someone else's.
"Whether it's the guy walking around a parking lot at noon or someone walking down your street at 4 a.m....give us a call," Mayfield directs.
If you see anyone suspicious or any suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, don't hesitate to make an anonymous call to the Adams County Sheriff's Office at 601-442-2752 or send an email by visiting adamscosheriff.org.
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