Beach carpark thieves on the prowl
THIEVES are targetting beachgoers in Coffs Harbour and Sawtell, stealing keys from under towels and cars and ransacking the victims' vehicles.
Coffs Coast residents are being urged to be extra vigilant when leaving their vehicles in beachside car parks, particularly on weekends.
Police said thieves have stolen items from 15 vehicles in the Coffs Harbour and Sawtell areas between July 1 and this week.
The offences have occurred at public car parks in beachside locations predominantly on weekends.
iPhones, iPads, handbags, wallets containing cash and credit cards, wetsuits and other clothing have been stolen during the incidents.
Police from Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command are conducting inquiries into the incidents.
They've stepped up patrols of the public car parks in a bid to catch those responsible.
Coffs/Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay said beachgoers need to exercise greater vigilance.
"From our inquiries, it would appear the offenders are closely watching their victims," Detective Inspector Lindsay said.
"The victims hide their car keys under their vehicle or wrap them up in their beach towel and leave it on the sand.
"The crooks then come along and pick up the keys before letting themselves into the car.
"The victims then return to their car after a swim or surf to find their personal belongings have been stolen.
The incidents occurred mainly between 6am and 9am and 5pm and 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
"The targeted vehicles were parked in the Ocean Parade, Jetty and Diggers Beach car parks in Coffs Harbour, and Fourth Avenue and Boronia Street car parks in Sawtell.
"We are continuing our inquiries to identify and catch those responsible and are keen to hear from anyone with information that might be of assistance," he said.