Prevent the Grinch from ruining your holiday


Click here to purchase a R-T gift subscription!While you’re in the mall stuffing the stockings or out decking the halls, the Grinch may be at work in the parking lot – ready to loot your car of holiday packages and personal items.

Vehicle break-ins are on the rise during the holidays, as drivers focus on celebrating the season rather than protecting their belongings. Crowded mall parking lots and distracted shoppers make the job easy for thieves – where someone can clean out a vehicle and be gone in less than one minute.

Charlie’s Columbia CARSTAR collision repair facility annually sees a rise in vehicles with broken glass and jimmied locks during the holiday season.

Charlie Eilers, owner, and Kyle Rainbolt, general manager, offer the following tips to help reduce holiday break-ins:

1. Don’t leave your packages in the back seat in plain view – always lock them up in the trunk

2. Lock your doors – even if you’re only going to be gone a few minutes

3. Don’t leave windows cracked

4. Park in well-lit, well-traveled areas

5. Hide electronics (GPS, cell phone, iPad) when you head into the mall

6. Don’t leave your purse or briefcase in the car

7. Be alert to strangers who appear to be standing around for no particular reason or approaching, as the person could be an opportunist waiting to grab shopping bags or belongings.

8. Don’t talk on a cell phone when walking in a retail environment or in the parking lot – you might not notice a potential thief lurking nearby

9. Have keys readily available when approaching your vehicle so no fumbling or looking is necessary to unlock the vehicle

10. If you’re going to be parking in valet, take your purchases home first and don’t leave personal belongings in the car

If the unfortunate vehicle theft does occur, CARSTAR recommends having a repair plan in place so you aren’t stranded at the mall waiting for assistance.

Just call 1-800-CARSTAR when you have an auto issue and they will send the tow truck, contact your insurance company, arrange for a rental car and repair your vehicle.

For more information, visit

For more holiday tips and tricks, pick up the Republic-Times newspaper all through the season!

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