COBB COUNTY, Ga. - It is a disturbing trend in Cobb County - a big increase in auto break-ins.
Christopher Goodson was retrieving books and other items stolen from his car at the Cobb County Police Department. He mistakenly believed leaving items in the trunk of his car would keep them safe.
"There's a button that opens my trunk, and if you press the button, the trunk will come right open," said Goodson.
He is among many car theft victims in Cobb County caught in an upward trend of car break-ins in Cobb County. The numbers show increases every year since 2012 when there were 2,560. That number continued to rise in 2013 (2,782), 2014 (3,102) and 2015 (4,105). That is a jump of more than a thousand car break-ins in Cobb County.
"We're seeing them go out in groups of three, four, five, six guys at a time. They'll all jump out, hit a car that's in the surrounding area, and jump back in. It takes literally like a minute," said Officer Alicia Chilton with the Cobb County Police Department.
She said a lot of break-ins appear gang-related, to sell items on the black market or part of initiations. The three most recent car break-in reports show the most common items left for thieves are electronics, cash and guns. Police said people often inadvertently advertise.
"They're looking for the guns, so if you have Glock stickers, Smith and Wesson stickers, you know that's definitely a key that there may be a firearm inside this vehicle," said Officer Chilton.
One area the thieves struck was the parking lot of Adventure Outdoors, a gun store.
"When they break into cars in our parking lot, they just go right down the road and hit every shopping center," said Jay Wallace, the owner.
Wallace said thieves in his parking lot may get more than they bargained for.
"On the way back you might catch them trying to get in your car so that would be something they have to consider as well," said Wallace.
Police are hoping people pay attention to the old adage, 'out of sight out of mind.'
"Don't leave stuff where people can see it. If it's there, people are going to grab it," said Officer Chilton.