WASHINGTON - The warning from Howard County police to women is simple. Don't leave your purses in your cars.
"We can't urge people strongly enough not to leave property inside their cars, even if it's only for a few minutes," said Police Chief William McMahon, in a news release.
Police are investigating four smash and grab robberies that occurred as women dropped their children at day care centers or went to the gym.
"We know that in the past, these criminals have waited and watched for a woman to get out of her car without a purse. The moment she leaves the car, they smash the window, grab the bag and are gone," McMahon said.
Here's where police say the thefts happened Wednesday:
- Kiddie Academy, 6500 block of Old Waterloo Road, Elkridge, Md., 7 a.m.
- Columbia Academy, 6000 block of University Blvd., Ellicott City, Md., 7:30 a.m.
- Children's Manor Montessori, 9000 block of Red Branch Road, Columbia, Md., 9 a.m.
- YMCA, 4300 block of Montgomery Road, Ellicott City, Md., 11 a.m.
Howard County police say they believe the thefts are part of both a regional trend and trend along the East Coast.
The county experienced a similar crime spree between December 2012 and February 2013. During that time, thieves used the checks and personal information they stole to commit fraud and drain bank accounts, police said.
Police recommend that women take their purses everywhere and not hide them in their cars.
If you are victim of a purse theft, report it to your bank immediately. Let the bank know a checkbook was stolen so that the bank can refuse to cash those checks.
And, as always report suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings.
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