It took less than 30 seconds for car thieves to steal an unlocked Jeep Cherokee from a Cumberland Farms store in Naugatuck on Monday.
In a two-day span, burglars broke into 16 cars in Vernon.
Car break-ins were also reported Tuesday in the south end of New London.
These are just a few of several car thefts and break-ins in several Connecticut towns over recent weeks.
The common thread running through the spate of thefts is that the owners are leaving cars unlocked, so police are asking residents to lock their car doors when leaving a vehicle unattended.
Between Aug. 4 and 5 in Vernon, burglars items from cars in the neighborhoods of Hany Lane, Skinner Road, Dart Hill Rd, Barbara Road and Emma Lane.
This is also happening in South Windsor and Ellington and investigators are trying to determine whether the cases in the three towns are connected.
In these cases, cash, sunglasses, phones, GPS devices and other electronics have been taken.
South Windsor police said thieves entered unlocked cars on Farmstead Drive, Greenfield Drive, Skyline Drive, Nutmeg Road North, Jessica Drive, Newmarker Road, Natsisky Farm Road, Leah Lane and Debbie Drive over the weekend.
Like many of the cars that have been broken into, the Jeep stolen from the Cumberland Farms store on Main Street in Naugatuck was unlocked. In this incident, the keys were also left in the ignition, according to police.
In some cases, victims have left the cars running, according to Naugatuck police.
This is a crime of opportunity.
Police said car thieves have been hanging around in gas stations, convenience stores and public parking lots, just waiting for an opportunity to take vehicles when they are left unattended.
Naugatuck police remind residents never to leave your keys in an unattended car, even while running a quick errand. Always lock your car and pocket the keys.
Never attach a tag with your name and address to a key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car and your home.
Avoid leaving an auto unattended in public parking lots for an extended period of time. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or an attended lot.
When you park the car, remove valuable possessions from the seat. These items tempt thieves and should be locked in the trunk.
If your car is stolen, notify the police immediately and have the following information ready: your license plate number and state, the vehicle make, model, color, and year, the vehicle identification number and also provide a list of distinctive features and special accessories and their serial numbers.