Leaving your garage door remote in your car is an engraved invitation to burglars.
  • Leaving your garage door remote in your car is an engraved invitation to burglars.
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A few weeks ago, eight houses on Black Mountain Road in Mira Mesa were all hit on the same day. A garage door opener previously stolen from one Black Mountain resident's car was used to break into his garage that day. A very expensive bike was stolen.

Recently, Victor G. of the Clairemont Olive Grove area alerted neighbors on NextDoor.com that his SUV had been dug through in the middle of the night. The next morning, he found the center console, glove compartment, and overhead storage all open and empty. He also found an expensive pair of glasses, cash, and other minor things of value still there. At this point, he realized that he had left his car unlocked and that the opportunist had possibly been searching for the garage door opener.

Two years ago, something similar happened to another neighbor in the same area. Video surveillance shows a 20- to 30-year-old blonde male casually opening his car and riffling through everything while leaving money, an iPod, and other valuables behind. What was most surprising was how casual the thief was as he set a huge soft drink on top of the SUV before ransacking the car. This same neighbor regrets not reporting it to the police because of it not being a forced entry and nothing having been stolen. At the time, it hadn't occurred to him that the garage door remote might have been the focus.

A few months ago, the same thing happened to a North Clairemont resident. At the time, it was well-known that a lot of kids were looking for loose change in unlocked cars. This time the thief did take a pair of sunglasses and iPhone ear buds. Luckily, the resident disengages her garage door opener every night with a smart remote option leaving it useless if stolen.

Diane D. from the Clairemont Olive Grove area said, "I've had this happen to me three times already on Berwick Drive." In one incident, Diane shared, someone stole an old car radio remote from her vehicle. She surmised that the thief probably mistook it for a garage door opener.

Two months ago, an East Clairemont resident had her car broken into as it was parked in front of her home. This time the thief did get away with the garage door remote. The resident changed the code the next morning upon discovery.

And most recently in the North Clairemont area on Saturday, Steve R. found his car had been rummaged through after accidentally leaving his car unlocked. He also found nothing of value taken.

Neighborhood Watch is starting back up in many neighborhoods and will be sharing lots of tips and reminders with residents such as: remembering to lock your car, leaving no valuables or garage remotes in vehicles, locking side gates, and having motion/flood lights in the front or side of a house. All of these things deter the opportunistic criminals who are prone to riffling through vehicles in the middle of the night.

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QueenMe July 31, 2015 @ 11:42 a.m.

WHY don't people just raise their kids to NOT be thieving TRASH? I have a neighbor, who stole stuff from my yard and then my car, once I put up a fence, for 2 F*CKING years--yeah, like I'm so dumb, I'd NEVER figure out who the thief is. This guy is almost middle-aged now and is nothing but a loser. But, oh how his mother is soooo proud of her worthless, little mama's boy!!!


Visduh July 31, 2015 @ 4:28 p.m.

The verb that should be used here is "rifle." Yeah, the word is also a noun, but according to dictionary.com, the verb means

  1. to ransack and rob (a place, receptacle, etc.).
  2. to search and rob (a person).
  3. to plunder or strip bare.
  4. to steal or take away.

"Riffle" has a meaning that sounds similar, but that's not what this activity involves.


jnojr July 31, 2015 @ 2 p.m.

It's a bad idea to leave ANYTHING visible in your car. If they see nothing, the car must be empty. If they see something, it is not empty... and therefore there might be more stuff somewhere else.


Visduh July 31, 2015 @ 4:35 p.m.

Home security experts have long advised against leaving garage door remotes in your car when it is unoccupied. They recommend carrying it on your person. How many of us do that or ever did it? Darned few, I'd guess. Now we have the built-in controls, and they're of no use unless the thief has the car, too. But the experts still don't like them, because a car thief would have access to your garage, and maybe your house. I suppose the secure operation of a remotely-controlled garage door is now a job for your smart phone. It would be password protected, or at least SHOULD be password protected.


AlexClarke Aug. 1, 2015 @ 6:32 a.m.

If you don't want it stolen then don't leave it in your car.


jnojr Aug. 3, 2015 @ 8:58 a.m.

Or, maybe we could start to hand out meaningful punishment to thieves? We try to rehabilitate on a first offense, lock them up for years for a second, and lock them up for decades or life for a third.

Every time someone bleats that theft is a "non-violent" crime that shouldn't be punished, we create another legion of worthless bottom-feeding scum that are very literally draining our lives away. When I buy something, I'm paying with money I earned by selling my time. A thief is effectively stealing part of my life from me, and I have absolutely zero problem with the way Texas handles this... you get up to no good after the sun goes down, you just might get shot over it. If your life is worth more than the contents of my car, great! Stay away from my car, and we have no problem.


QueenMe Aug. 3, 2015 @ 3:49 p.m.

I agree. I am SICK and TIRED of my thieving scum neighbor. And I'm not his only victim, apparently. He's stolen from 2 other houses, to my knowledge and who knows how many more. Once his old lady kicks the bucket, he'll inherit the house and then he can steal from everyone, on a full-time basis.


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