Hopatcong Borough Police say a Coach handbag was discovered missing early Friday morning from a locked vehicle parked in a residential driveway in the 300 block of Lakeside Avenue, according to a department statement.
Lt. Thomas Kmetz said police received a report of the incident Friday just after 6 a.m. The victim told authorities she parked and locked her vehicle in her driveway at 7 p.m. Thursday. At 6 a.m. Friday, she found her passenger side window smashed and her Coach pocketbook gone.
Kmetz said the case offers a warning to residents.
"Please do not keep valuables in your vehicle," Kmetz urged. "What the criminals are doing is walking at night trying to open car doors. Those that are unlocked, they go in and steal what is laying around. One person we caught had a sock full of change from all the cars he went in.
"Now picture a pocketbook," Kmetz continued. "To a thief it is like winning the lottery. Though the car was locked, the window was broken because it was worth the risk of someone hearing the noise to get to the pocketbook."
He said this is an important message to share during the holiday shopping season, noting that leaving presents in the car is "more of a temptation to break in." Kmetz cautioned that vehicles should always be locked.
"And for those of you who leave your car unlocked and put your car keys under the front seat, it is just a matter of time before your car is missing," he warned. "Just take the few seconds to make sure you home and vehicle are secure before you leave them."
Anyone with information regarding the Lakeside Avenue burglary is asked to contact Hopatcong Police at 973-398-5000.