Six unlocked cars broken into

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, March 24, 2008

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.--- Some neighbors in Columbia County are regretting leaving their car doors unlocked, after six vehicles are broken into.

"They had opened the glove compartment and pulled things out," said Melba Chambers. She says she always locks the doors on her Avalanche but somehow forgot.

Deputies say that's how suspects Heather Long and Joseph Smith broke into Chambers' vehicle, as well as the vehicles owned by six of her neighbors.

"I think it's sad that you can't feel safe in your own neighborhood," Chambers said.

An incident report shows two suspects drove into the neighborhood, then a man got out and started checking car doors. He left alone the ones locked, but found six that were left unlocked.

Columbia County deputies say some people feel so safe in their neighborhoods that they don't even bother locking their doors.

Incident reports also show some made it even easier by leaving their keys inside.

"Luckily I just didn't have anything of value that they could take," Chambers said.

Others weren't as lucky as Chambers. Victims reported the following stolen: a digital camera, credit cards, fifty dollars cash.

One victim reported nearly $300 in valuables stolen.

"They need to learn their lesson," Chambers said.

The two suspects were picked up for a traffic stop. Deputies realized they match the description of the burglars and had some of the missing items in their car.

Melba says now she's gonna be extra careful.

"We all should remember to lock our car doors and play it safe," she said.

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