The Candy Store: Burglars travel from all over West Texas to break into Midland's unlocked cars

Published: Dec. 13, 2019 at 10:39 PM CST
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There’s been a serious uptick in car burglaries in Midland throughout the past year and it’s attracted unwanted attention all over West Texas.

Midland Police said car burglars are coming to Midland from places like Odessa, Big Spring and Lubbock expressly to break into cars because more often than not, it’s pretty easy.

In a press conference, Midland Police said they’ve had more than 1,000 car break-ins this year.

Of those incidents, about 300 cars and more than 50 guns were stolen.

But how can burglars keep getting in time after time?

Because people don’t lock their cars.

“All they’re doing is walking up and down the street checking doors,” Midland Police Chief Deputy Jerad Fain said. “If the door’s unlocked, they’re going in and stealing things. If it’s not, they’re not worried about it. They’re going to the next block.”

Yep, it’s really that easy.

In fact, more than 800 of this year’s break-ins involved unlocked cars.

That’s why burglars in neighboring cities are making weekly trips to a city so poorly guarded, it has its own nickname.

“I know that police at one time told us they call us the candy store out here,” Lisa Roberson said.

Except instead of lollipops, burglars are getting away with electronics, cash, and lots of guns.

“We had a guy who had his car broken into and had a gun stolen and about two months later had his car broken into again and had another gun stolen. So, the same person left his car unlocked twice and had two guns stolen. So, that’s what we’re dealing with right now.”

Roberson has seen enough break-ins around the area to know it’s best to keep all valuables like her car and Christmas gifts in the garage well away from the street.

“We’ve got another week, so we’ll see,” she said. “My Christmas is in the house now.”

For everyone else, a simpler solution could do the trick: locking their doors.

In Texas, walking away from your car while it’s running is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by $500.

Midland Police said they’re now considering making a new fine to punish people who leave their cars unlocked as well.