LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - Thieves have been targeting unlocked cars in places all over the Tri-State for quite some time. Police in Lebanon now believe the criminals are going the extra mile by using tools to crack open doors and smash windows.
On Meadow Lane in Lebanon, car break-ins are an ongoing problem, and nothing, not even freezing temperatures or icy roads, seems to keep the thieves away.
"It really makes you feel bad that there are people out there that are willing to steal from other people who work hard to take care of themselves," Eve McKinnon, who is a victim of the break-ins, said.
The culprits go-to method, authorities believe, is to tug at door handles to see which cars are unlocked.
That seems to no longer be enough. There are reports in Warren County that the suspects are shattering windows to search for stuff, or, like in Eric McCrossin's case, they're using tools to bust inside locked vehicles.
"They got three of my guns, and my crossbow, and a hunting bag with quite a value worth inside of it," McCrossin said.
He said the items stolen from him are worth much more to him than money.
"Stuff I've had since I was eight-years-old," McCrossin said.
The big dilemma for drivers now is whether it's better to lock their doors or purposely leave them unlocked.
"I feel like if somebody wants it bad enough, they're going to get it somehow, and I don't want to pay a deductible for glass breakage, so I leave my car unlocked," McKinnon said.
The lesson learned for the Meadow Lane neighbors is to always keep their possessions not only out of sight, but out of reach.
"Felt stupid for leaving it in the car obviously, but being a hunter sometimes that happens," McCrossin said.
"The best thing is not leave valuables in it. It's easy to do," Jeff Burns, a resident, said.
Lebanon Police are investigating the cases.
If it happens to you or if you have information on a case, call your local police.