Unlocked cars leading to a 'Paywave' of thefts
CARELESS motorists leaving their cars unlocked are giving thieves an invitation to dip into bank accounts, in a disturbing new crime trend.
Sunshine Coast police have urged motorists to lock their vehicles, even in the driveway, in the wake of more instances of thefts from cars in the past three months.
Caloundra Police Station officer in charge Gavin Ricketts said thieves were taking their offences to the next level by using stolen wallets to swipe credit cards in local stores that used the Paywave system.
Since July 1, thieves have broken into 44 cars in the Caloundra area. The worst-hit spots were Bellvista, Currimundi, Aroona and Golden Beach.
Tradesmen have also been targeted, with several reports of stolen tools from utes parked near building sites.
Wallets, laptops, credit cards and mobile phones sitting on seats, consols and dashboards are tempting thieves into the easy steal.
"Paywave, which requires no PIN or signature, can be used to buy items at the lower end of the scale," Snr Sgt Ricketts said.
"An offender can use your credit card at numerous different outlets to buy cigarettes or alcohol, for instance, thus committing several fraud offences, the cost of which mount up very quickly. It is very concerning to have seen an increase in fraud offences.
"They are either eventually caught in the act or an investigation will disclose that an offender has a large amount of property or credit cards in their possession, either when intercepted on foot or in a vehicle or during the execution of a search warrant at their home.
"Property can then be traced back to the owner and the circumstances under which the property was stolen."
Snr Sgt Ricketts said the message was clear - lock your vehicles and take all your belongings with you.
"If you have to leave a work vehicle parked near a worksite, move it to some-where safe or enclose it in a locked yard or take tools home with you," he said.
"If everyone adopted these simple rules we could put these stealth crooks out of business and reduce loss of personal property, damage to vehicles and fraud."