MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV) Busy shopping centers and arms full of shopping bags can often be a target for robbers, especially during the chaos of holiday shopping.
Multiple stores on the Central Coast have already been targets for burglars this season.
On Black Friday, the Sunglass Hut at Del Monte shopping center was hit by four suspects, taking $27,000 worth of merchandise. Monterey Police said they've identified three of the suspects, but they haven't been able to make an arrest.
This week, Capitola Police say they've made an arrest for a shooting at the Capitola Mall during an attempted burglary at Target.
Read more: Jewelry store robbed in Carmel-By-The-Sea
Capitola, Monterey and Salinas Police said they all have seen an increase in theft over the past few weeks, typical for this time of year.
"That's pretty typical this time of year because there's more shopping. So there's more activity at the mall," said Capitola Police Chief Andrew Dally.
Salinas Police said it's too early to tell if the theft trend will beat previous years, but they say workers at the mall, the downtown area and other shopping centers need to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity.
"If they have any sort of surveillance cameras, that could help us out after the fact. Have well-lit entries and exits for the night time. Move any valuable stuff to the back of the store, so it's not as easy to identify and steal. And make sure your employees are trained to be on the lookout for anything suspicious," said Salinas Police Sgt. Seth Morten.
Morten adds that investing in high-quality security cameras will make it easier for them to catch thieves after the fact.
But retail stores aren't the only targets.
"Always lock your doors. Hide your valuables, either in the trunk or under the seats when you can, or better yet, just flat out remove them from your vehicle," said Sgt. Morten.
Chief Dally added, "They'll see see an item in a car and it's a crime of opportunity. They'll break the window and try and take it."