Safe, not sorry, is the key
IT'S a risk many surfers on the Coffs Coast take daily, but one that Mark McClurg will never chance again.
Stowing his key under his vehicle, Mark returned from an early morning paddle at Sawtell to discover a thief had been watching.
"I couldn't find my phone and then found my wallet and discovered my cash and cards were missing and I realised I had been robbed," Mark said.
The local businessman's Triton and 15 other vehicles have been targeted by thieves in local beach car parks in the past month.
Since the theft, Mark has invested in a key safe and lockable board straps.
Senior police say officers will this weekend step up patrols of beachside car parks in Coffs Harbour and Sawtell and will be on the lookout for people acting suspiciously.
The offender/s have also stolen keys which have been left under towels on the beach.
On the hitlist for opportunistic thieves have been iPhones, iPads, handbags, wallets containing cash and credit cards, wetsuits and other clothing.
Coffs/Clarence Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay, said beachgoers needed 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 incidents happened mainly between 6am and 9am and 5pm and 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Thefts have occurred in the Jetty and Diggers Beach car parks and in Fourth Ave and Boronia St at Sawtell.