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Warning: car thieves may target Black Friday shoppers

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A state agency is warning car thieves may also be at Michigan malls looking for deals in the parking lot.

Tim Bailor with the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority says Black Friday is one of the biggest days of the year for auto theft.

Bailor says car thieves target shopping mall parking lots on Black Friday hoping to not only steal a car, but also flat screen TV’s, electronics and other big ticket items.

He says shoppers often make it easy.

“It actually is surprising,” says Bailor. “We have several cases where people are literally leaving their keys in the car.”

Bailor says midday is a prime time for auto thefts when many shoppers have loaded up their cars will Black Friday deals.

Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim of car theft:

• Park in a well-lit area
• Place shopping bags in the trunk
• Use storage compartments that keep valuables out of sight
• Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended 
• Watch for suspicious activity or for anyone who may be following you
• Close windows when your vehicle is parked
• Install a car alarm or panic alarm on your vehicle

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.