Alyssa DeCosta of Dartmouth reported her car was stolen after working at the Dartmouth Mall late Sunday night. She parked her 1998 black Honda Civic "at the entrance of Ruby Tuesday and Santander" at 3 pm, and left the mall shortly after 10 pm to find her car nowhere in sight. "The only information I've gotten is from a friend I worked with that day. She left at 8pm and specifically remembers seeing my car when she left because we parked close together."

DeCosta's insurance does not cover thievery, so she is without a vehicle for the time being. She hopes to have her car returned to her, but is doubtful that all the parts will be intact. If you know any information, please contact Paul O'Donnell with the Dartmouth Police Department. (License plate 824 ZL8)

UPDATE: DeCosta's car has been found in Connecticut!

Alyssa DeCosta / Facebook
Alyssa DeCosta / Facebook

While none of these tips from CNN are 100% guaranteed to prevent break-ins, it is important to remember that doing these every day decreases the risk.

  • 1

    Don't forget to lock up

    It's common sense, yet we hear about it all the time. I myself am sometimes guilty of forgetting to do the most basic practice of locking up before walking away.

  • 2

    Tidy up

    A thief could see that useless, empty shopping bag in your car and think there's something valuable inside. By keeping your car free of trash or miscellaneous items, a thief has less of a reason to snoop inside. The interest subsides. I never would have thought of that...excuse me while I spend the next hour cleaning my Chevy Malibu.

  • 3

    Hide evidence of valuables

    If you have an expensive smart phone, odds are you have a charger in your car. Make sure that and all other accessories are out of sight. Never leave a valuable like a computer or tablet inside either.

  • 4

    If you got it, don't flaunt it

    I am the worst when it comes to this. I will drive to the mall after shopping somewhere else and store my purchases in the trunk before going inside. It's like a giant billboard saying "Come and get it!" Someone could easily be sitting in their car waiting for me to walk away before heading for the trunk to claim their prize. Especially for the holiday season, be sure to stash everything in the trunk before parking somewhere else.

  • 5

    Close all windows completely

    Not only could someone reach through the gap to open the lock with a door hanger, but the pressure sensor could be disabled in a car alarm. This leaves a car vulnerable and gives the bad guy more time to steal your stuff, or the whole car.

  • 6

    Alarmed and dangerous

    Speaking of alarms, get one. "Factory-option alarm systems are generally best, but a carefully installed, properly calibrated aftermarket system can provide just as much safety."

  • 7

    Nothing better than the original

    When it comes to an audio system, stick to the car's original equipment. Something flashy and brand new could spark interest in a thief looking to make a quick buck on speakers and such

  • 8

    Park where people can see your car

    A car thief is less likely to try to take your vehicle if your car is clearly visible in every direction. Simply because the chance of being seen committing the crime are greater than if your car is covered by a bigger car, fence, or foliage, etc. Also, park in a well-lit area.

  • 9

    Don't make it easy for them

    "Steering wheel locks, steering column collars, or brake pedal locks may discourage the would-be thief from breaking in and trying."

  • 10

    Super combo

    Not one of these tips are 100% guaranteed to prevent a break-in or theft, but using a combination of any or all of them could greatly decrease your risk.

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