CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Videos from security cameras installed on several homes in the Sandy Creek neighborhood of Corpus Christi captured two thieves casually strolling up and down streets Wednesday night, pulling on the door handles of cars.
When they found unlocked cars, they searched through them.
It's hard to make out in the video what items they removed from the cars — some of which they threw on the ground.
The camera stationed above the garage at William Grimes' house on Torrente Drive makes a tweeting sound when it detects motion.
The camera alerted him that someone was outside one night, but it didn't start recording fast enough to catch who it was.
“As soon as our cameras ding, they must have gotten scared and went away from our house," Grimes said.
Some of his neighbors weren't as lucky, and they think the thieves had a technological advantage.
The auto theft supervisor with the Corpus Christi Police Department says he has heard about a device that thieves can use to unlock various cars, but he hasn't seen it here.
He also says that, for someone to clone your key fob's frequency, they would have to be so close to you that you'd likely realize what they were doing.
Still, Grimes thinks it's possible the thieves had such a device.
“Nothing surprises me today with technology," he said.
The owner of a shop that installs car alarms has also heard of the car-unlocking device.
“I haven’t seen it down here, but I think it is possible," Victor Hernandez from 501 Kustoms said.
Something he has seen a lot of is thieves "jimmying" their way into cars.
Hernandez says they stick a modified screwdriver in the door looks of certain cars, give it a smack with their hand, and the lock pops open allowing them quiet access to the interior of the car.
“The problem with that is that it doesn’t set off the factory alarm on the vehicle unless you have an after-market (alarm)," he said.
To protect your car from this type of break-in, you can buy a "jimmy-jammer", and 501 Kustoms will install it for you.
Hernandez also advises you only to park in well-lighted areas.
Grimes agrees, and recommends another level of security that might have saved his pickup and his wife's jeep from being messed with by the thieves.
“I suggest to anybody, if you want to protect your — not only your family but your assets — there’s camera systems out there," he said.