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      Updated: GIPD Says Vehicle Theft Increase May Have Been Prevented

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      After what they call a significant increase in stolen vehicles, Grand Island police have a warning: stop making it so easy.

      Officer Butch Hurst said, of the 17 vehicles stolen so far this year, 11 were unlocked with the keys inside. Six were left running.

      "In the last five days we've had three stolen cars and all three of them have been left - not only with the keys in it - but the cars had been left running," said Hurst.

      In the parking lot of Grand Island's Front Street Post Office location Tuesday, it took less than a minute for NTV to find Edgar Sandobal's vehicle unlocked and running.

      "I leave my truck on because I usually have my dog with me. It's kind of a nice theft deterrent," he said.

      However, others at the Post Office told NTV that hitting the lock button is a priority.

      "I always lock my car. It's just a safety measure," said Lanita Roeser.

      Hurst said that thin pane of glass may be all it takes to keep thieves out.

      "Why would I hit your car when I could move on to the next one that's probably unlocked or has a key in it or has a laptop or a phone or money just thrown on the dash," he said.

      Grand Island Police have taken 42 reports of thefts from vehicles since the beginning of the year, but few were actually broken into.

      "Only five either had a window broken or something was disturbed to get into the car," said Hurst.

      Police said it's time to do away with the "it won't happen to me" mentality.

      "It will happen to you," said Hurst.

      Hurst said lock your vehicle, hide valuables and - if you can - pull your car off the street.

      "It doesn't matter where or when you leave your vehicle," said a statement from the department. "The vehicle should be locked up and all valuables placed in the trunk (if possible) or removed from the vehicle."

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