The bags were packed, and then they were gone.

Amy Mitts and her family were ready for a vacation. She had placed the family’s luggage in the garage and was ready to leave the next morning. But sometime during the night, a crook broke into the Mitts’ car, which was parked in their driveway. Using the garage door opener, the burglar then ransacked the garage of the family’s Northwest Preston Royal home. The theft was especially frustrating due to its timing.

“They stole my packed luggage. We were home at the time,” Mitts says. “We were going on vacation.”

The thief also took quite a few other items, including a bike, power tools, toolboxes, children’s video games and suitcases full of packed clothing — a loss of more than $4,500. Mitts isn’t sure how the crook got in the car.

“I have no idea,” she says. “I think it was locked. I usually lock it.”

Dallas Police Lt. Barry Payne of the North Central Patrol Division says neighbors should never leave a garage door opener in plain sight.

“Primarily, it is never a good idea to leave your car unlocked, especially with visible property inside. It is also never a good idea to leave a garage door opener in a car and leave the car sitting outside the door it can open,” he says.

“If you are going to leave your car in the driveway, always take your garage door opener inside your home. It is like leaving a key to your house hanging on the porch outside the door.”

Despite the loss, the Mitts family still enjoyed their vacation — after a quick stop at Target for some new clothes, that is.

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