SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. - The Spalding County Sheriff's Office is warning the community to be wary of thieves using a remote device that can unlock a locked car without damaging the vehicle.
Deputies said this "code breaker" is a device they've never seen in this area before. "We would love to get our hands on this device to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Spalding County Sheriff's Office Major Dwayne Jones.
Investigators said the men broke into more than half a dozen cars at several homes on Oak Grove Road early Sunday morning. When neighbors checked their surveillance cameras, they were surprised at how the thieves got into their cars to steal their property.
"We're accustomed to cars being locked or using slim jims or something to break in, but this is the first time we've seen a key fob or code breaker-type device to break into cars," said Major Jones.
One neighbor had hundreds of dollars in hunting gear, including hunting knives, stolen from his locked car.
"Oh it aggravates me because while we're sleeping, people are coming taking our stuff in the middle of the night," said the neighbor who asked to remain anonymous.
Now, the Spalding County Sheriff's Office wants the community to be on alert.
"Somehow or another, it captured a radio frequency and somehow through clicking the machine or clicking the fob he was able to hit the right frequency or the series of codes and unlock the car," said Major Jones.
What's most worrisome to the Sheriff's Office: these "code breaker" devices are not hard to get.
"There are aftermarket devices you can find on the internet that are for sale for doing this," said Jones.
And for these thieves, who deputies said were captured on more surveillance cameras at a convenience store just after the break-ins, neighbors say they're getting better security systems in hopes they won't strike again.
That's a low down person," said the neighbor. "I don't agree with any of that, and I hope they get caught soon," he said.
The Spalding County Sheriff's Office said it is speaking with other local police agencies to figure out more about how these key fob devices work.
In the meantime, they say the best thing you can do is to remove anything of value from your car at the end of the day, and park inside your garage if you can.