'Car Hopping' Increases in Benton

- BENTON, AR -- Benton Police say, it's not typical, but they've seen an increase in car break-ins this month.

Stacie Waite was one of the victims.

Without a locked door, thieves got away with some pretty good stuff.

"Someone found my wallet about two blocks away, with nothing in it," Waite said.

But she's most disappointed, about one thing in particular.

"Then they got her Justin Bieber headset, thank God that's gone," Waite's mother, Terri Cook, said laughing.

But Waite said the Beat Headphones are worth $250.

"So the fact that my Beats are stolen, like that kind of frustrates the heck out of me. You could've stolen anything else out of my car," Waite said.

But Waite and her headphones are not alone.

Benton police officers say crooks broke into 25 cars this month alone.

In January of last year, that number was only 16.

"We are seeing a bit of a spike after Christmas this year, which is a little bit out of the ordinary," said Lt. Kevin Russell with the Benton Police Department.

Officers say car break-ins are the same, but now criminals have a new name for it.

They call it car hopping because thieves move as quickly as possible checking the car doors to see if they're locked, then looking inside for anything valuable.

Russell says locking your doors and removing your valuables from the car can cause thieves to just move on.

Waite says she's learned her lesson, but she's trying to keep a good sense of humor about it.

"At least we know they're not LSU fans. They didn't steal any of my LSU stuff, so that narrows it down I guess," she said.

Benton police officers say they're not sure why there are more car break-ins this month, but they're actively investigating the crimes.

So far though, police made no arrests.

If you would like to follow Melissa Schroeder's reports on Facebook, you can click here and like her page.

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