DOUG SCHMIDT, WINDSOR STAR

Tis, perhaps, the season of giving and sharing, of goodwill and merriment — but don’t ever let your guard down, the public is being warned.

The Windsor Police Service on Tuesday issued its annual Bad Santa alert.

“We know that would-be thieves are especially looking to play the role of Bad Santa during the holiday season,” department spokesman Sgt. Steve Betteridge said in a statement referring to the movie character in a film of the same name.

Windsor police are once again participating in the provincial Lock It Or Lose It! campaign, launched during the busy holiday season when shoppers and motorists are easily distracted and sometimes forget to either lock up their vehicles or keep purchases and valuables out of sight from prying eyes of ill intent.

“Bad Santas could be looking to ruin this holiday season,” said Betteridge.

As part of the campaign, police officers will be randomly checking parked vehicles, making sure doors are locked and nothing that might attract a thief’s attention is in plain sight. Notices will be left behind, either congratulating motorists for doing everything right, or providing cautions and tips for those who are creating temptations for criminals.

A vehicle is stolen every seven minutes on average in Canada, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, at a cost to Canadians — in the form of fixing damage and replacing stolen property, as well as the costs in police, health care and courts — of close to a billion dollars a year.

Bad Santas are also on the lookout for personal documents that can be useful for identity theft. Vehicle registration and ownership papers, car insurance pink slips, credit card invoices and any other documents containing personal information shouldn’t be left in an unoccupied vehicle, the police warn.

dschmidt@postmedia.com

Source: Windsor Star

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