SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) -- The Signal Mountain Police Department has a tough case on its hands.

On the night of January 3, more than 20 vehicles at 16 homes off James Boulevard and Taft Highway were burglarized. Signal Mountain Police Chief Boyd Veal believes the burglar did not work alone, or totally on foot.

"More than likely it was more than one person, just given the area that was covered," Veal says. "Somebody will be dropped off and go through an area and hit as many as they can and then somebody will pick them up."

These neighborhoods have had only isolated incidents in the past. None of the burglarized vehicles were damaged, but Veal says they were unlocked with valuables in plain sight. 

Although his department is doing everything it can to solve the crimes, he urges residents to take steps in protecting themselves.

"We have a sense of safety in our place of residence," Veal says. "But unfortunately we're not immune to this type of thing."

Veal went on to say, taking precautions is the key to reducing the chance you will become a victim. The thieves in these cases worked efficiently, covering a lot of ground in a short period of time.

"It takes only a few second to take valuable property in with you and lock your door," Veal says. "It takes the same few seconds for somebody to come through and take the property away from you."

The victims either could not be reached or did not want to talk to Channel 3 in person. However, a few say they have begun locking their car doors upon arriving home at night and taking valuables inside.

With the cover of darkness shading the perpetrators from potentially being seen, these vehicle burglaries may be difficult to solve. Investigators have begun interviewing neighbors, talking to other area agencies, and looking for clues.

"In a crime like this we have a victim who is not a witness. We don't have any other witnesses," explains Veal. "You start at ground zero and try to piece it together."

If you have any information or think you may have seen suspicious activity that could be linked to these burglaries, please call Signal Mountain police.