GREENWOOD, Ind. — Police are reminding people to never leave valuables in their cars and keep their doors locked after a man was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing items from cars in the Greenwood Park Mall parking lot.
Tonya Alte was one of the victims of the thefts. She was eating lunch at the Applebees at the mall when she came out to see her car surrounded by police officers.
”When I came out there were four cop cars around my car,” Alte said.
The officers told her they thought her car had been targeted. Sure enough, Alte was missing her phone holder and her handicapped parking pass.
“He had taken everything out of my glove box, everything out of my console and this is where the handicap tag was,” she said.
Greenwood Police Detective Jason Grable said officers arrested Dayton Swain for stealing out of cars at the mall.
“A lot of thieves just check door handles, they’re looking for the path of least resistance and they’re looking for that person that left their car unlocked,” Grable said.
Police reports showed Alte was one of two victims in the parking lot Monday. It left her wondering why someone would steal a handicapped parking pass.
“I asked the police officer that and he said they can sell them,” Alte said.
Alte said her stereo looked like someone had tried to rip it out, too.
“I don’t know if he yanked it off but my son had to do some fixing to get it to work,” she said.
Police said Swain stole Beats headphones and some dollar bills from another car.
Luckily, there was a shopper paying attention who called 911.
“He actually saw him get into a couple vehicles,” Grable said. “Officers responded and located the subject hiding and ducking between cars.”
The man who called 911 told FOX59 he saw Swain go into four or five different cars and go through them before police got there.
Grable said the police appreciate this man’s watchful eye.
“Any time you’re in a parking lot anywhere you should be aware of your surroundings, pay attention,” Swain said.
The man did not want to be identified but Alte is grateful.
“Thank you very much because I got my stuff back,” she said.
Alte admits she did leave her car doors unlocked but said there was nothing valuable inside.
She considers herself lucky that the situation wasn’t worse.
“As old as my car is, he probably would have broken the ignition and stolen my car,” Alte said.
Grable hopes this serves as a reminder for everyone, always lock your doors and never leave valuables inside.