Bellevue police: Beware of happy hour car prowlers

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Police have a warning for drivers: smash-and-grab crime is on the rise in Factoria. Both shoppers and workers in the area have already fallen victim.

The Bellevue area has seen dozens of car break-ins since Christmas, and police say the only way to protect yourself is to be vigilant and leave nothing behind.

"Car prowls happen everywhere," said Bellevue Police Lt. Maria Harnden.

Police cay the car prowlers are hitting during happy hour, between 4 and 6 in the afternoon.

"People's best defense is not to leave your stuff in the car," Harnden said. "It's really just taking away the chance for the crooks to get you."

We've all heard the trunk is the safest place for valuables. But not anymore.

"If you get out of your car, everybody sees you go and put your laptop bag in the trunk. Then they're just going to go in the truck," said Harnden.

For thieves ready to smash windows and grab valuables, popping the trunk open only takes an extra 30 seconds.

"And that's the danger. People get complacent and think its not going to happen within a minute. But it does happen in a minute," Harnden said.

Police say car prowling is a crime of opportunity, and the only person who can prevent this type of crime from happening to you is you.