HINSDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- Hinsdale police are warning residents that car thieves checking for unlocked vehicles to steal overnight have been armed.
Police said a series of recent car burglaries and thefts have followed a pattern they've seen for years in which thieves will go up and down neighborhoods looking for vehicles that are unlocked and that have key FOBs left in them so they can either steal the car or its contents.
Police said in recent incidents the thieves have been armed and even opened fire in at least two occasions on homeowners who have caught them in the act of looking at their cars.
Police said the current pattern of attempted auto thefts have happened between 4:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., with several occurring after sunrise, unlike the usual pattern which takes place in the middle of the night.
"The probability of a homeowner interrupting an auto theft is greater after sunrise and that is the reason we are putting out this alert," police said in a press release.
Hinsdale police said their best advice to protect both yourself and your vehicle is to make sure your car is locked and the key fob has been removed every night to discourage the thefts, look before you walk out to your car in the driveway, and if you do encounter a would-be thief or group of thieves, do not confront the and call 911 instead.