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Car break-ins near trailheads spike

There has been a recent increase in burglaries and thefts from cars at several popular trailheads in Santa Barbara County.

Ten vehicles have been broken into at Nojoqui Falls Trail and Gaviota Hot Springs Trail in the last month.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has increased its patrols of these areas but encourages the public to be aware of this crime trend and to take proper precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Always keep your car locked with valuables out of plain sight.

Most of the crimes have been committed during the daylight hours while the vehicle owners were enjoying a day hike. In all ten of the cases, people took the time to lock their vehicles but were likely targeted because the suspect/suspects knew they would be away from their vehicle for an extended period of time and saw items of value in the vehicle. While there is no specific evidence linking the crimes, there is reason to believe that the same person or people are responsible.

The Sheriff’s Office has also received a report of an auto burglary at Lizard’s Mouth on W. Camino Cielo, the trailhead at Las Canoas Road and Mountain Drive as well as the trailhead located in the 3400 block of Gibraltar Dam Road.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of an auto burglary.

-Lock your door.

– Close your windows.

– Never leave valuables in plain sight. Lock all valuables in the trunk or take them with you.

– Always take your keys with you after you park your vehicle.

– Remove or hide your garage remote when you leave your vehicle unattended.

– Set your car alarm every time you park your vehicle.

– Do not use spare keys hidden on or in your vehicle. Consider a spare key in your wallet instead.

– Park and lock your vehicle in your garage whenever possible.

– Remove personal information such as driver license, registration, etc., from unattended vehicles.

To report suspicious activity, call 911. If you have any information regarding any of the recent auto burglaries, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 805-683-2724 or to leave an anonymous tip call 805-681-4171.

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