Neighbors hope surveillance video helps nab car prowler

SEATTLE -- Car break-ins are a problem across Western Washington, but the residents in one Seattle neighborhood says the crooks just keep coming back.

Now, thanks to new surveillance video, they have an idea who they're looking for.

One of the first things thieves check for is whether the car is unlocked. Windows are easy to smash, but that can be noisy. The crooks who've been targeting one Lake City neighborhood tend to keep looking until they find an easy mark.

Newly obtained surveillance footage shows a thief getting into a car through an unlocked latch. He spends some time hunting for valuables, not realizing a camera is recording his every move.

"He was trying to look for coins, I believe, in that side, but there was nothing there," said Jewis Bagaoisan, who installed the security camera after having a GPS system stolen.

Although the thief got away, the camera captured a clear shot of his face, and Bagaoisan hopes police can use it to end the burglaries and break-ins that have plagued his neighborhood.

"It's been going on in the neighborhood. I mean, our other neighbor across from us got hit twice already," he said.

Steve Clemens had his home ransacked twice in the past year and said thieves routinely target his car.

"If I left it unlocked, it was a 50-50 chance somebody would have gone through it," Clemens said.

Other Lake City neighbors have learned that valuable lesson the hard way.

"I'll get in there in the morning and it will be rifled through. I can tell they went through my glove box and whatever else," said Yvonne Snyder.

The man in Bagaoisan's surveillance video checked the next car down the driveway, but gave up when found it was locked.

Neighbors hope the man is nabbed sooner than later, because they say they worst thing to lose is their sense of safety at home.

"The next day it really sunk in and I hated being at work," Clemens said. "I just wanted to get home to protect my place, my home, my stuff."

Aside from the obvious advice of keeping your doors locked, the best way to protect yourself from car prowls is to not leave valuables inside.
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