You may work during the day, but the guys we are looking for this week go to work in the wee-small hours of the morning. Their job is burglarizing every car and truck in your neighborhood and won't even bother breaking your window in the process. As you will see from surveillance video, they don't have to. "The criminals are in their early 20s," said Chattanooga Police Sgt. Victor Miller. "They're calling it a car hopping. We call it auto burglary."
If they haven't already found your house, they may be coming to a neighborhood near you. Police say the trio we feature this week has been spotted all over town. We see them via surveillance video from a couple of nights they hit Hixson. "What you going to see is three males that are going from car to car throughout a neighborhood," Sgt. Miller explained. "They approach the car, check to see if the door's unlocked. If it is, they're going through your vehicle and then they're going to go directly to your neighbor and do the exact same thing."
Sadly, Mayberry seems to be an untenable state in today's world and no town, neighborhood, or alcove is immune from crime. "What the criminals find is that sometimes, the nicer neighborhoods, people leave their vehicles unlocked and they leave their valuables inside; they leave their guns inside," Miller added. "So, that's one of the problems we find is that people are leaving stuff inside a vehicle and so the criminals are going to frequent those areas."
These three, who appear to be two white males and a bi-racial or black male, are probably parking close by and just strolling and trolling, house-to-house. "What they're doing is going through multiple neighborhoods, every night, Miller said. "So, they get their buddies together; these three people are going throughout multiple different neighborhoods."
We get quick looks at them as they hit this same Hixson street, twice. In the two separate episodes, they are seen around 4AM. Sgt. Miller says that comes as no surprise. "We see that usually between the hours of one and 4 o'clock is when criminals are doing these auto burglaries," he said. "So, what we ask you to do is about 9 o'clock set your self a reminder to do a 9 PM routine and go out to your vehicle make sure everything is rolled up and your doors are locked."
That is something Sgt. Miller would love for all of us to make a habit: the #9PMRoutine. Every night, check to make sure your vehicle and residence doors are locked. Even take the opportunity to get your valuables out of your car.
If you, by chance, recognized the crooks in the video, call Crime Stoppers: 698-3333
Up to $1,000 reward is available and we will never ask your name.