Police and deputies are investigating at least 16 smash-and-grab car break-ins reported in the last several days in Johnston County.
Johnston County deputies said 11 vehicles were broken into in motel parking lots in the I-40 / NC42 area in Cleveland. In most of the break-ins, thieves shattered the windows on locked vehicles and then grabbed values left in plain sight. Among the items taken were clothing, laptops, cell phones, cash, social security and credit cards.
Smithfield Police are investigating 5 similar car break-ins at motels along Venture Drive and Outlet Center Drive. Items stolen include debit cards, a purse, handgun, watch, flashlight, and drivers license.
Authorities said the victims had their car doors locked but valuables were left in view. Officers urge vehicle owners to keep your passenger compartment clear of any valuables and when possible take your valuables in your home or lock the items in your trunk. If you must leave valuables inside your vehicle, conceal the items with a blanket.
No arrests have been made in the 16 break-ins.