INDIANAPOLIS -- Thieves are targeting runners competing in races and the valuables they leave behind in their vehicles.
During the Drumstick Dash, held in Broad Ripple on Thanksgiving, thieves broke into at least four different vehicles, police reports show.
Bonnie Jackson had just finished competing with her cousin and husband when she noticed her window smashed.
“I noticed my purse was missing,” said Jackson. “They did use some of my credit cards at Walmart. It’s rare for my purse to be in my car when I’m not in the car.”
Thieves can see races as an opportunity to strike because people often leave valuables in their cars, because they don’t want to run a race with a purse or phone.
“They pretty much hit my car right as the race was starting,” said Jackson. “Fortunately, I do not carry my social security card, and even though they got my credit cards there’s probably not much more they could do.”
As runners pounded the pavement in the Monumental Marathon on November 5, Indiana State Police said thieves broke into nine cars inside a Washington Street garage.
They took credit cards and used them to make purchases at a gas station and Foot Locker, police said.
They’re asking for help in identifying the individuals in these photos:
Surveillance cameras at the Speedway gas station, located at 3540 W. 30th Street, captured video of the suspects in an older silver four door passenger car and dark colored pickup and using a stolen credit card to purchase gas.
The stolen credit cards were also used on the same date to make purchases at the Lafayette Square Mall Foot Locker, according to Indiana State Police.
Police are asking anyone that may recognize the vehicles or individuals in the photos to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office has launched a campaign “Freeze Identity Thieves” to remind Hoosiers of the risk of identity theft and fraud this holiday season.
They recommend you sign up for a free credit freeze, which will prevent someone from opening up a new line of credit in your name.
"Surprisingly a lot of people don’t' know about the credit freeze,” said Michelle Mayer, Director of Outreach Services for the Indiana Attorney General’s office. “What's nice is, it's free. Give yourself a special Christmas present this year."
This year alone, the AG’s office received 818 identity theft complaints and 500 data breach reports.
If you need to unfreeze your credit to open a new account or refinance your home, you can easily do so.
Just contact the three credit reporting agencies online or by phone and give them a timeframe to unfreeze your credit file.
“It should never keep you from getting a line of credit if you need it,” said Mayer.
Equifax Credit freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
Place a Credit freeze Online with Equifax
Experian Credit freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Place a Credit freeze Online with Experian
Trans Union Credit freeze
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Place a Credit freeze Online with Trans Union
Call 6 Investigates also reached out to several races to find out what they’re doing to help protect runners’ belongings.
“We do offer a full gear check option that is supported by UPS so you can store valuables while you’re running and pick them up when you finish the race,” said Bob Bryant, President & CEO of the 500 Festival. “We will also be working with IMPD and volunteers to beef up security for this year’s race.”
This year’s 500 Festival Mini-Marathon will be held on May 6, 2017.
The Monumental Marathon will be held on November 4, 2017.
"The CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, like all Beyond Monumental events, offers a secure gear check where personal belongings may be kept. We encourage participants to use the gear check but to keep items of value to a minimum. When returning to collect items at gear check, participants must present their matching bib number to claim their items." - Casey Collins, Interim Executive Director
If you don’t want to use a gear check, leave your phone and credit cards at home, or lock them in your trunk.
Runners can also utilize fanny packs and arm bands to help hold phones, keys and identification.