ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- During this season of giving, thieves have been stealing cars and sometimes the only mode of transportation from hard-working people.
Escondido police previously told FOX 5 that over the past three years, on average, about 45 vehicles are stolen each month. In recent months, an auto theft detective said he has been seeing a trend of people leaving their keys or fobs in their car. He also noted that older model Hondas are a prime target for thieves.
Just a week after her college shut down, nursing student Beverly Brown said her Honda was stolen from her apartment complex off of El Norte Parkway.
“I’m kind of lost. I’m still trying to collect myself with everything happening,” Brown said.
The young mother said her car was found in Oceanside and is now at a tow yard. She said she was disappointed when she went to see that it was gutted and her personal belongings were gone.
“My medical books, I still have some, but some of my maternity books they took and then it’s just strange -- pictures of my daughter. Everything was cleared out of my car," Brown said. “It’s messed up. I don’t know. I’ve been there before. I’ve been homeless as well and I’ve never done something like that."
Down the road, Robert Hollon woke up to find his wife's brand new Mercedes was missing. He said he discovered that while he was sleeping, someone came into his home, in his gated neighborhood, and stole the keys hanging near the front door.
The thieves, or thief, got away with the car and his wallet.
“It could have been a lot worse. Someone came in when we were asleep so we’re just lucky that nothing happened to us,” Hollon said.
These victims may be ending the year feeling violated, but the Hollons are starting the new year with a new security system, as Brown is looking forward to a fresh start.
“Hopefully 2019 brings something better,” Brown said.
Police said if you do not have an alarm system for your car, you should look into getting one, or at least get a steering wheel lock.