TYLER, Texas (KETK) – There has been a rise in vehicle burglaries in East Texas. Criminals are looking for anything they can get their hands on, but the one valuable item they all want are firearms.
“There’s nothing worse than you going home or you going outside to your vehicle in the morning and leave for work and find your car door open,” said Sheriff Johnwayne Valdez, Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Sheriff Valdez, Rusk county had 65 vehicle related thefts in 2021.
None of those crimes involve broken windows. Every single one was because someone’s car was left unlocked.
“First thing that goes through you mind is that I should have locked it, we have to be vigilant,” says Valdez.
Similar crimes are happening in Van Zandt County. At one point they experienced 55 auto related thefts in a two day period.
“They basically went up and if the car was unlocked they got in there under a minute they ransacked the car and moved on to the next one,” says Sheriff Steve Hendrix, Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office.
Recent victims that we spoke to they said there’s a concerning trend when it comes to these crimes. Some of the thieves are passing up electronics just to steal firearms.
Law enforcement is encouraging people to take a picture of their firearms and their serial numbers.
You can keep it on a flash drive in a safe place and this will make it easier for authorities to recover your guns.
“They also make gun locks for civilian vehicles that you can purchase have a vault in your vehicle that makes it nearly impossible to get in and get it out,” says Hendrix.