Car break-ins target participants in holiday walk/run event

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Thieves targeted more than a dozen runners' cars today during the Drumstick Dash, a morning run and walk through Broad Ripple that's become a Thanksgiving tradition in Indianapolis.

Police warn the burglaries are an example of a crime on the rise during the holidays.

While thousands of people ran the Drumstick Dash, raising money for Wheeler ministries, crooks were on a race of their own.

Burglars hit car after car in parking lots at nearby Glendale Mall on the north side of Indianapolis.

Between the race start at 7:30 am and its finish at 11:00 am, thieves broke windows, shattered glass and stole cell phones, credit cards, even an Illinois police officer's gun and badge.

Crystal Buening ran the Drumstick Dash and saw the lot littered with glass after the race.

"Multiple windows had been broken into. I mean glass was all over. It was really sad. Very sad," she said.

Crystal says her car was empty. She knew not to bring her purse and stow it in her vehicle while she ran. But for others, even hidden valuables weren't safe.

"Somebody's car was broken into and they went into their trunk. They popped their trunk, broke the window, popped their trunk and went and got everything out of their trunk this morning," Buening explained.

Unfortunately, it is the season for people who steal. The parking lot at Castleton Square Mall was empty Thursday afternoon, but starting Friday, it will be a target-rich environment for thieves.

"A lot of people have a lot of money on them and credit cards," said shopper Celeste Davis.

Some shoppers also leave packages in their vehicles, after the purchases are made. But shopper Tracy Cline takes extra precautions.

"We just try to put it out of sight. Then in between trips, dropping it off at a close location so it's not in the car," Cline said.

During the holidays, shoppers can expect to see more mall security patrolling the grounds, more lights in the parking lots, and even security towers at Castleton, to give the good guys a better view from above.

But even when shoppers think their cars are safe, with a locked car, police say the incident during the Drumstick Dash is a warning that thieves are watching for potential victims.

"To start out with something so joyful and then you know, and it was so early in the morning still. It's just disappointing for them," Buening said.

So far, investigators say there are no suspects in the northside break-ins. But police plan to look at surveillance video in the area and track victims' credit cards in case they're used by the thieves.