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Boathouse diners enjoy the view from the deck.

Recent car break-ins have caused issues for a small number of people in the RiverPark area.

According to the Chattanooga Police Department, two people have filed reports after their cars were broken into in the Boathouse restaurant parking lot on Monday night.

Among the items stolen were an expensive makeup bag, a purse and passports.

CPD Public Information Officer Robert Simmons said that several auto break-ins - up to 10 or 15 in one day - are typically reported in the Chattanooga city limits. There could be many more, but he stressed the importance of filing a police report to get back whatever was stolen, regardless if the vehicle appears vandalized or not.

"Still make the police report because it gives us just a little bit more info," Simmons said. "Every time we get something, it adds a little bit more data so we can see patterns, look at it from heat maps so we can see places that we need to concentrate our efforts at or just re-educate people."

He said the recent reports filed at the Boathouse parking lot are currently being investigated.

Simmons said most car thefts happen at night and are typically carried out by an individual looking for cards and cash, which seems probable in the Boathouse parking lot break-ins. He said that thieves almost always try to get into bags, since those often contain valuables such as wallets.

"It's always a crime of opportunity. They're going after something they think may be valuable," Simmons said.

If someone finds their belongings to be missing, Simmons suggested checking nearby trash cans in addition to filing a report. 

"I can't tell you the number of times I've responded to a car burglary like [on Monday night] and I took all their information and walked to a nearby trash can and found a purse," Simmons said.

His recommendation? Lock it, hide it or hold it - advice the CPD has been pushing for a few years now.

"Lock your vehicle every time you leave it unattended, hide your valuables, or take them with you," Simmons said.

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