Thieves targeting car keys in early-morning break-ins

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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ATLANTA - Someone is smashing into northeast Atlanta homes while families sleep to snatch car keys.

According to police, this is a rising crime that targets people with late model and luxury cars.

The latest victim told Channel 2's Carl Willis she heard someone break through a glass door just after 6 a.m. Monday morning.

This victim did not want to be identified, but said she thought it was her kids or maybe a falling tree that caused the commotion.

"I heard footsteps then I said, 'No, someone is in my house,'" she said.

Police confirm that whoever is doing this is going for car keys that are typically kept right near the entrance.
 
Soon after they break in, they drive away in your car.

The victim said she was just a few feet from the intruder.

"I just stayed really quiet because I didn't want to come in contact with whoever was in my house."

She later saw flashlights in her backyard and heard a car start up and leave her driveway, before realizing it was her 2012 Mazda SUV.

Her laptop was also stolen.

Police said several similar break-ins have happened in Kirkwood community, but this was the first to cross DeKalb Avenue onto Nelms Ave in the Lake Claire neighborhood.

"It seems pretty elaborate and aggressive," said neighbor Bonnie Germain.

She told Willis she was glad no one was hurt, but said the trend is disturbing.

"That's very concerning," said Germain." It happened very early in the morning when most families are home and stirring about."

"I would hate to think would have happened if one of my kids or my husband had come out there," said the victim. "I don't know if they were armed."