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Residents in San Marcos Gardens neighborhood seeing an uptick in car break-ins

Here’s another reminder to lock your cars, trucks and SUV’s, especially with the Holidays around the corner.

Residents in one area of Santa Barbara are seeing an uptick in break-ins. At the same time, they’re seeing an increase in home security cameras and special lighting going up.

One homeowner nabbed two clips of suspected thieves on his Blink Home Security Camera Tuesday morning. The first video rolled dark and early at 2:15 a.m. and tracked a man in cargo shorts walking by a home near Verano Drive off Cathedral Oaks Rd.

After a few passes, the man can be seen making a beeline for a white Audi SUV parked out front and tests a locked door before he moved on.

Less than two hours later, a camera posted at a different angle on the same house captured a second person; a man wearing a backpack, light-colored pants and a hoodie sweatshirt. He appeared to be casing a black sedan parked in the driveway.

That car also appeared to be locked. These surveillance video clips captured two in a series of recent incidents in the San Marcos Gardens neighborhood, tucked between La Colina Jr. High and Bishop High School south of Foothill Rd. and Cathedral Oaks Rd.

“I haven’t heard of any homes,” said Evonne Risdall. “It sounds like a few people who maybe didn’t lock their cars had some stuff taken out. I haven’t heard of anybody having like a window or any kind of actual break-in that wasn’t unlocked.”

Risdall and other neighbors are keeping tabs on the break-ins through the Hope-Nextdoor app.

“People did approach our home and opened up some car doors, rifled through,” said John Thelander. “There’s nothing of value in the vehicles.”

Thelander said the incident happened several months ago but he is aware of a similar, recent spike. Thelander said his home is now equipped with motion sensor lights.

The Risdall family, living on the west side of Hwy 154, has an infrared security camera mounted on their home. Both Thelander and Risdall questioned their neighborhood’s proximity to busy corridors and the recent spike in petty crime.

“I think of our closeness to State St.,” Thelander said. “I don’t want to disparage any individuals, but, I’m sure they do …. at nighttime, they’ll come around. Easy pickings, picking the low fruit.”

“I feel like it’s kind of an off-the-beat neighborhood, like we’re all pretty close, everybody knows everybody,” Risdall said. “It’s kind of a nice, quiet neighborhood but it’s also close to the highway, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it.”

“It’s just uncomfortable having people prowling around,” Thelander said.

Both said it’s a reminder to use common sense and lock your doors, night and day.

“Lock your doors,” Risdall said. “That’s always a good plan. Make it harder if somebody wants to take something.”

KEYT 2019

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