The Santa Barbara Police Department has recently received numerous reports about vehicle burglaries in the city.
Police say the incidents have been occurring mainly in recreational areas, the municipal golf course, city parks, beachfront and other parking lots throughout the City of Santa Barbara.
Police believe it to be a group of criminals from outside the Santa Barbara area who are specifically targeting vehicles that have valuables inside them.
Police say they have information to believe that this network of criminals is highly sophisticated; utilizing "look-outs" observing future victims' actions, and waiting for the victim to leave their vehicle prior to breaking in.
According to police, victims have reported placing valuables inside the trunk of their vehicle, believing this is a secure location for purses and wallets. The criminals then use burglary tools that allow them to gain access discreetly and quickly to the vehicle's trunk, stealing only the victim's credit/debit cards. The victims are initially unaware the crime has occurred, even after returning to their vehicle and retrieving the property that they believed was secured.
The police department is encouraging the community to not leave any valuables in their car and take them with them.
An investigation is underway to catch these criminals. If anyone observes suspicious activity at the above-mentioned locations, call 9-1-1 immediately or SBPD Dispatch 805-882-8900.