Are thieves hitting up your trunk for presents this year?

The time of year has come when shoppers spend as much time hunting for parking places as they do for presents. Unfortunately criminals see these packed parking lots as an excellent opportunity to help themselves to your presents.

Despite their annual appearances in the Darwin Awards, thieves aren't dumb and know that shoppers are likely to stash shopping bags out of plain sight. In most cases, that means storing them in the trunk, which is now being targeted by hi-tech thieves.

James Kendrick, of the popular tech blog JKOnTheRun.com, passes along a warning from his local authorities to be wary of leaving anything of value in your trunk this holiday season. While the trunk has often been considered one of the safer places in your vehicle to store stuff, it seems that is no longer the case. Criminals are now using electronic trunk openers that they purchase online to help themselves to your goods. So far the thieves have hit up popular restaurants over the lunch hour in Houston, nabbing briefcases and computers. But it's only a matter of time until they make their way to crowded malls.

While the prevalence of this trend is largely an urban legend, it doesn't detract from the importance of protecting your stuff. The mall parking lot can be a dangerous place for your newly purchased goods and the trunk may not be as safe as you think.

Sure, in the good old days, you could only get in the trunk with a key. But now most cars offer fold down seats, which let anyone willing to break your window have full access to the car's content. While you're finishing up your holiday shopping, play it smart and try to keep all of your stuff with you until it's time to head home, even if that means sharing a booth in the food court with your bags.

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