Police warn shoppers not to leave packages in full view in cars

PUYALLUP — Police have kicked off their “Not in Puyallup” campaign in which officers check out parked cars in shopping malls and leave cards on the windshields warning shoppers that their vehicles contain items that could attract a car prowler.

Puyallup police said Friday they investigated about 1,500 vehicle break-ins last year. A packed parking lot is a perfect hunting ground for criminals, who shop for what may be in drivers’ cars while the owners are inside the malls, police said.

Police Sgt. Dan Pashon is thinking like a criminal this holiday season. He and his fellow officers will go from car to car checking to see if shoppers are easy targets and leaving cards on windshields.

“Lock up their valuables,” Pashon said, offering the advice he would give drivers. “Put them out of view so anyone looking into the vehicle can’t see them. Hopefully, they’ll move on to the next vehicle.”

Mary Walker took her daughter out for a day of shopping at the South Hill Mall. After being told of what Pashon advised, she decided it was a good idea to cover up those recently purchased items.

Officers also advise shoppers to park in a well-lit area if possible.

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3 comments

  • kim

    I do not shop at Puyallup's South Hill mall after having a card put on my vehicle two years ago. My purchases were in back of a large SUV, with tinted windows and were "covered up" as much as possible. However, I felt that the card the police left on my vehicle acted like a calling card to thieves that there were indeed purchases within my vehicle. After reading the card, I looked around and could immediately tell which vehicles had been looked in by police and were identified as having purchased items in them. If you were a car prowler/thief out on Black Friday at the South Hill mall, you didn't have to look into cars, the police did it for you!!! I understand that the police "think" they are doing a service making shoppers aware, but in all honesty, not every vehicle is made with a trunk and sometimes purchases show. I know leaving anything in my vehicle at anytime in the year makes me susceptible to thieves and break-ins, but the police identifying my vehicle to them doesn't help. Additionally, anyone shopping on Black Friday who doesn't think there are thieves patrolling out in the parking lot are idiots and putting a "card" on their dashboard isn't going to make them any less of an idiot.

  • Kim

    Anonymous…… I do think police are the good guys, but you are missing the point that valuables can't always be "put away" because not all vehicles have trunks, high seats to slide things under, etc. Putting a blanket, etc. over them makes them less visible, but what also makes things less obvious is a card, put on a windshield, by a police officer telling you AND A THIEF that you have packages in your vehicle. Go to the Puyallup Mall…….. look around, the police have done the work identifying the vehicles for the thieves.