The recent arrest of a teenager in a theft case has Dawson County Sheriff's officials reminding residents to be cautious this holiday season.
"Just like when it's warm outside, as the weather changes near the holidays, we have an increase in criminal activity," said Capt. Tony Wooten.
"Whether they're stealing to have money for drugs or stealing to be able to buy Christmas, it's a busy time of year."
Thanksgiving morning, sheriff's deputies arrested a Dawson County teenager after a Nix Bridge Park Road resident reported seeing someone with a flashlight rummaging through his vehicle.
Jeremy Alcorn, 19, has been charged with entering auto, theft by taking and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, authorities said.
He also faces one count of possession of a controlled substance, which authorities believe was the drug ecstasy.
Alcorn is suspected of taking GPS units, cash and a hand gun from at least five vehicles in the area.
Wooten said Alcorn was planning to sell the items to make enough money to travel to California, where he wants to go to college.
The teen, Wooten added, admitted to casing nearly 40 automobiles, looking for unlocked cars near the Chestatee community, where he lives.
"That's how thefts like these go unnoticed," Wooten said. "If they don't have to break anything to get it, the owners may not immediately realize they have been robbed."
According to Wooten, if valuables must be left in cars, they should be locked in the trunk and out of sight of passers-by.
"I'd say 80 percent of our entering auto cases are from car doors that were left unlocked," he said.