The Canton Police Department is investigating four incidents of entering autos that occurred midmorning on Friday at the G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA on Waleska Street.
At 10:26 a.m., Canton police officers responded to the call at the facility and found the rear windows of four vehicles had been shattered, said Community Outreach Officer Pacer Cordry.
Thieves took off with purses and other miscellaneous items from each vehicle.
Cordry said detectives believe the incidents happened between 9:30 a.m. and when they responded to the call.
"They simply reached in and grabbed the items," he added. "Everything was in plain view."
Friday's incidents are the latest in several entering auto crimes that have hit Cherokee County in 2013:
- Last month, vehicles parked outside the Little Red School House daycare were targeted by thieves.
- In June, two people were arrested for entering auto incidents in BridgeMill.
- A Canton teenager was arrested after he was tied to entering auto incidents in Towne Lake.
- Five incidents of smash and grabs occurred in October. Four happened in unincorporated Cherokee while the other happened within the Holly Springs city limits.
- In July, cars were also targeted outside a Towne Lake daycare and two purses were taken from those vehicles.
- Two teenagers were arrested for a string of entering auto incidents in the Towne Lake area.
The agency recently launched Project Safe Car, which entails officers hitting up parking lots of local shopping centers to spot vehicles that would be deemed prime targets for thieves.
The officers identify vehicles that have unlocked doors, open windows, electronic items such as GPS units and other valuables out in the open. If an officer spots these items, he or she will place a brochure on the windshield warning motorists of the hazards of leaving their vehicles and items unsecured.
Cordry said it's important residents take extra steps to protect their items, such as removing valuables and placing items such as purses and computer bags into their trunks before they arrive at their shopping destination.
The community outreach officer noted many thieves will sit in a parking lot to see if any shoppers will place items in their trunks before they make their way into a store.
Canton detectives are currently reviewing camera footage outside the YMCA to see if they can pinpoint any possible suspects and are working to determine if the four incidents could be tied to similar crimes in the area.
Since one of the cars was parked closer to Riverstone Parkway, Cordry said it's likely someone may have seen one of the crimes in action. Anyone with information is asked to call the Canton Police Department at (770) 720-4883.