DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Nicole Guerriero can see through the eyes of a criminal.
"The only way for us to find out if the opportunity is there is to check," said the Delray Beach police sergeant.
But in Delray Beach, car thieves are increasingly finding that to take something, all you have to do is find the unlocked car.
On Thursday, it took two police officers 17 minutes to check 11 cars, and find a thief's dream: an unlocked car.
"Look at all the open stuff that's in here," said one officer.
Boots, a wallet and car chargers.
Through October, Delray is on pace for the same number of car break-ins as last year.
But Guerriero says the number of vehicles broken into with unlocked doors has gone from an average of 23 to 26 every month.
"It really presents this huge opportunity for someone who is walking by, who might be down and out, and just can open the door and grab what's in there," said Guerriero.
A few minutes after Delray police left their calling card on the car with the unlocked doors - a printed warning that a vehicle is exposed to theft - the owner arrived and learned a lesson.
"I just was heading down to the beach for a few minutes. I didn't even realize it was unlocked," said Will Allen, who just moved to Delray Beach.
Unlike home burglaries, many car burglaries are crimes of opportunity.
Police say it's a rare case where they can knock out a whole ring of car thefts just by catching one person.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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