Larceny from autos

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When your car gets broken into, police have an acronym for it-- LFA-- larceny from auto. And in the past year there have been 84 LFA's in a 2-and-a-half mile radius around one particular spot.

That spot is the Golden Green Hotel. Owner Fred Lawing has lots of high quality surveillance cameras stationed around his establishment.

He says he had one of the safest parking decks in town-- until thieves hit on four different nights during the past month.

On March 2nd, one of those surveillance cameras caught a light brown sedan poking through all levels of the lot. One thing you can't help but notice, are the flashing brake lights.

"The car itself is a BMW," said CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson. "I has lights across the back-- they're like strobe lights."

The car is easily identifiable. But surveillance of the break-ins is not. They tend to happen at the far end of the parking decks where lights are low and far away from the cameras.

Yet we can see a shadowy figure rummaging through someone's trunk while the recognizable BMW is parked next door.

This was not a case of someone leaving their car unlocked.

"They were all locked and it looked like they were jimmied with a screwdriver of some kind, and forced open. And a lot of these cars have nice rims and tires and none of those things were targeted."

On March 30th the same BMW with the same strobing brakes made a return trip to the hotel parking deck.

This time, it parks and we can see a man wandering around. He has his hat on backwards, is wearing a sweatshirt with baggy pants, clearly scoping things out.

Before he leaves, another car is broken into.

LFA's were reported on April 7th and 10th as well. Most of the victims said they lost personal items, like cell phones and even medicines.

Detective Cuthbertson's advice-- "as always, take all the belongings out of your car."

If you know of someone with strobing brake lights on a BMW, call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600 and you could earn some gas money.

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