The holiday season is prime time for thieves

Toys for Tots donation jar stolen in Williamsport

Toys for Tots donation jar stolen in Williamsport

December 05, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - 'Tis the season for theft, according to local law enforcement officials.

And even charities are targeted.

On Monday, someone stole a jar of money collected for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program from Wolfe's on the Square in Williamsport.

The donation jar was full when it was stolen, said Jack Slick, owner of Wolfe's on the Square.

Shoplifting and other thefts always seems to rise during holiday shopping times, Lt. Mark Knight of the Washington County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

The sheriff's department has seen an increase in shoplifting at Valley Mall and across the county, Knight said.

A leather coat and other clothing was reported stolen Monday from Sears at Valley Mall, according to the sheriff's department.

Shoppers also could be vulnerable to purse-snatching or similar crimes.

Hagerstown Police Officer Todd Dunkle advised female shoppers to carry purses with a shoulder strap and sturdy clasp.


Shopping with a group of people is best, and vehicles should be pulled to the curb where it's safer for loading packages, Dunkle said.

Packages should be loaded into trunks or hidden under seats, Knight said.

Visible packages offer a "crime of opportunity" and someone could break open a window and take them, he said.

Electronic devices, such as a GPS, iPods and radar detectors also should be hidden, Knight said.

Most importantly, use common sense and avoid any area or situation that appears unsafe, Dunkle said.

Safety tips

Safe shopping tips from the Washington County Sheriff's Department and Hagerstown Police Department:

· Park in well-lighted areas of parking lots.

· Shop in groups.

· Carry a debit or credit card instead of cash.

· Have your keys in hand before you get to your car.

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