CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The crime solving thinking has changed when it comes to car break-ins.
Here's an example-- the Farmhurst apartments, just off Nations Ford Road in southwest Charlotte, are full of easy-to-spot surveillance cameras.
So, it's a bit surprising that someone well-aware of the cameras would try something like this.
On a Monday morning, a white Mercedes Benz pulls next to a black SUV. Out pops a man, who slyly reaches behind his back and finds the door of the SUV unlocked. He slips in.
"We think this guy had some sort of prior knowledge. Maybe he came through one night and was checking door handles, which we typically see a lot of," said CMPD Detective Brandon Miller.
Recently, we've reported on car thieves who patrol parking decks looking for unlocked cars.
"We've had reports across the city where we see people going through parking lots, checking door handles and typically, they don't smash windows like they used to, they go into unlocked cars which is much quicker for a criminal," Miller said.
But, why would someone choose to leave their vehicle unlocked?
"Some people feel like if they leave it unlocked, the criminal will do less damage if they're going to break in anyway," Miller added.
The burglar spent a few minutes inside the unlocked black SUV, then reappeared with some papers and the car stereo, which is something that is fairly inexpensive these days.
"Yeah, it's surprising, we really don't see too many car stereos taken anymore, if anything, it's other things of value people leave in, GPS systems, laptops, cellphone, things like that," Miller said.
To demonstrate how much inside knowledge this crook had-- when he left, he was very aware of the surveillance cameras.
"This guy actually left out the way you're supposed to come in, we think he did this so the camera couldn't catch the tag of his vehicle.
Police got a partial tag, but it was one of those paper 30-day tags.
They describe him as Hispanic or light-skinned black man with a stocky body, about 5'-6" in height. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 and earn a reward to buy your own stereo.