Thieves took two cars from straight from their garages in Bettendorf.
They were part of a string of crimes that happened in Bettendorf between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Police say the thefts happened at homes on the 5800 block of Emily Road and the 2600 block of Heather Glen Avenue.
There was also a report of suspects attempting to break into vehicles on the 3900 block of 53rd Avenue and a burglarized car on the 2700 block of Heather Glen Avenue.
Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington said while both stolen cars were in garages, they were unlocked with the keys inside.
He said the thieves often get into the garage by using the remotes left in unlocked cars in the driveway.
“People think because their car is in the garage they can leave the key in because it’s safe — it’s in the garage — and it’s not safe. You might as well leave your garage door open if you’re going to have your car in the drive unlocked, with the remote in it,” he said.
For the Wilkins family, it came down to bad timing. Justin Wilkins was about to leave for work shortly before 5 a.m. on Friday. He opened his garage door and unlocked his pickup sitting in the driveway.
“[I] went to go get my coffee mug. Came back inside to fill my coffee up and then I heard the other garage door open up,” Justin said.
Just five minutes later he went back to the garage.
“I went out there and our car was missing,” he said.
Justin’s wife Tiffany had parked her car in the garage, unlocked with the keys inside.
“I ran out and I see both the garage doors open and I thought did we leave these open all night? He said no I just opened the one. They must have opened the second one.
Tiffany’s five month old car was gone along with Justin’s work computer, which he had in his pick up in the driveway.
But Tiffany’s biggest concern was having thieves so close to their two daughters.
“I was freaking out,” Tiffany said. “I did not like that feeling of feeling so vulnerable having somebody be inches away from literally being so close to my family.”
The Wilkins moved into their Bettendorf neighborhood for the tight-knit community — a place where they had hoped they could leave their garage doors open, even just for a few minutes.
“With the continued car thefts, it makes you really think about what you can trust,” Justin said.
That’s why Justin said they’ll be adding security cameras to the front of their house and making sure all their cars are locked at all times.
“You could just literally be living your life, running to grab your morning coffee, and if you’re not on top of it, or safe enough or have everything locked then this could affect you too.”
Redington said nearly 1,000 cars have been stolen in the Quad Cities in the last 18 months. He said almost all of them have had keys inside. That’s why Redington said it’s so important to lock your car and take the keys with you.