CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF)- Horry County police are investigating a string of car break ins in the Carolina Forest community.
Officers arrested and charged Jonathan Illingworth for 6 of the break ins, but say the incidents have been climbing in recent weeks. Residents in the Waterford Plantation and Springlake subdivisions have reported some of the crimes.
Police say many have one thing in common: owners left their car doors unlocked. Now they're reminding everyone to lock up and take their valuables inside with them.
"If you're leaving it unlocked people go by, check the doors and it's a crime of opportunity. It's unlocked, it's there," said Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for Horry County Police.
According to police reports items stolen range from iPods and laptops to handguns. They admit each year during the holidays these types of crimes spike, but say people should always be prepared.
Some neighbors say they take extra precautions to avoid being a victim.
"We keep our cars in the garage all the time and we paid for a security system so we set it. We have a couple of big dogs that sort of deter anyone from coming to the door," said Richard Aumick, who lives in Waterford Plantation.