Lubbock police say holiday crime is on the rise and it's up to you to protect yourself. Lock your car and keep your valuables out of sight. One Lubbock woman is hoping her story will make shoppers take pre-cautions.
Lubbock police say diners can be a target as well as shoppers. If a thief is watching you enter a restaurant, he or she knows you'll be in there a while, giving enough time for the break-in. In this case, the gifts that were stolen were intended for donation to Bikers Against Child Abuse.
"It's kind of emotional because here we are trying to help kids and somebody steal their Christmas away," says Linda Brice. 'Tis the season for giving says Brice who spent much of Friday morning purchasing laptops, dolls, and i-pods. Those items are on the Christmas wish lists of twenty area children who have survived various forms of abuse.
Loaded with close to a thousand dollars worth of gifts, Brice and a friend decided to grab a quick bite at Cracker Barrel. That's when some scrooges struck.
Brice says, "When I came out, I thought I was going to die because I could see something was wrong and my friend went to other side everything gone."
Sgt. Clay Winters with the Lubbock Police Department says, "We seem to have seen a little increase with the shopping weekend as far as car burglaries go. It was pretty well wide spread."
The person who burglarized Brice's car is still on the loose but police did arrest a group of four people on Black Friday.
20-year-old Jimmy Laird, 36-year-old Randy Laird, 20-year-old Jacob Terrell, and 24-year-old Diana Dennis are accused of breaking into cars at shopping and dining hot spots along South Loop 289.
Winters says, "Officers were able to track them down in the area of South Loop 289 and University and pulled them over in the parking lot of the Target."
Police were able to recover the stolen items but that is something that has not happened in Brice's case.
Winters advises, "If you're out there buying Christmas gifts for your own family or in many cases for other children please make sure it's secured."
And to the Grinch who stole Christmas, Brice says, " Watch what you are doing. Don't steal Christmas away from kids who've had a hard life."
Brice says insurance should cover the cost of the stolen gifts.
As for the four suspects who were arrested, they are charged with engaging in organized crime, credit card abuse and burglary of a vehicle. One of the suspect's three-year-old son was with the group during the alleged crimes and was taken into custody by Children's Protective Services.
|2007 Holiday Helper|