Increase in car break-ins at gyms and trails across the CSRA

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Spring is around the corner and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office is warning folks to beware of thieves.

There's been an increase in a pattern of car break-ins at trails and gyms and deputies and veteran runners want to remind people to not leave anything of value in your car, because criminals might be watching.

"I don't keep any large amounts of cash on me or leave it in the cars. If someone got in it, they wouldn't get much," said Tony Boomer.

Boomer runs on the North Augusta Greenway every chance he gets and he makes sure not to leave anything of value in his car.

"You hear a lot about cars getting broken into because people leave stuff in sight and I try not to leave anything that would be of use to anybody," Boomer told WFXG.

After an increase in car break ins at gyms and trails across the CSRA, deputies are warning people to be careful when you're working out and make sure you're mindful of what you're leaving in your vehicles. You never know who's watching.

"People are watching, you'd be surprised. You think they're at the gym, or running and walking, like you," said runner Latoya Riles.

Just a few weeks ago, Riles was running with a group of women who's cars were broken into and their wallets were stolen. The staff at Gold's Gym on Bobby Jones Expressway says they've experienced some thefts too, and they've stepped up their game.

"We've had a couple break-ins in the past. we've got cameras everywhere outside. We also have people patrolling the parking lots to make sure no one is messing around with the cars," Michael Barrett, an employee at Gold's Gym.

Cameras help deter criminals, but Lt. Pat Young with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says it doesn't prevent them from breaking into cars, so exercisers need to take precautions.

"Minimize what you take with you. Always take the key with you. Don't leave them hidden on the car somewhere. Keep them on your person," said Lt. Young.

If you have to take valuables with you, don't leave them in plain sight.

"Put items of value in the trunk of your car and do so before you get to the location that you're going to so that no one sees you putting those items in the trunk of your car," Lt. Young told WFXG.

If you are out running or at the gym and you see anything suspicious, make sure you contact your local law enforcement and staff at the gym you're at.