MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Imagine taking a stroll in the park only to return to your car broken into and your belongings missing. Well this what happened to one Montgomery woman this week.
Monday, Montgomery resident Eretta Rose had her morning walk at Blount Cultural Park cut short when she received a text notification on her phone from her credit card company.
"All I did was hit something wrong because it was $405.95 on my card," said Eretta Rose.
Immediately she headed back to her car only to find her rear passenger window smashed and her purse stolen.
"I thought I made a mistake and left the back window down. The closer I got I saw the glass on the ground and was like, 'Oh my God.' I called the police," said Rose.
In less than 30 minutes the culprit was able to rack up hundreds of dollars in charges at a nearby store.
"It is frustrating that someone would do that. I had to cancel all my cards and close my checking accounts," said Rose.
Rose isn't alone. The Montgomery Police Department has seen an increase in vehicle break-ins. It takes only seconds for someone to spot your valuables in the car and do what they have to in order to get them.
"From loose change, to sunglasses, to cell phones, whatever you leave in your car they will certainly steal it," said Montgomery Police Department Sgt. David Hicks.
In June, 200 reports were filed with MPD for vehicle break-ins. That number was up from that time last year when 164 reports were filed. The CrimeMapping app shows locations of vehicle break-ins for the month of June in Montgomery.
"It is a problem we are seeing around the country," said Hicks.
MPD is stressing the slogan "Remove it, Lock it, or Lose it."
"Chances are if you secure your vehicle, remove all valuables, most likely you will not be a victim," said Hicks.
As Eretta Rose tries to feel safe again and waits for the person who targeted her to be caught, she offers this advice.
"Always be vigilant and aware of what is going on," said Rose.
In addition to vehicle break-ins MPD is reminding people not to leave their keys in the ignitions. In June there were 89 car thefts. This is actually the same number reported in June of 2017.
For more tips you can follow the Montgomery Police Department on Twitter and Facebook.