(File photo)

The Sidney/North Saanich RCMP are warning residents of a recent spike in thefts from vehicles, especially from cars parked in underground parking lots.

In the past five days, there have been nine reported thefts from vehicles, according to police. Four of these thefts took place in underground parkades, and one instance saw thieves breaking into a condo resident storage area.

Police also say that thieves are using new methods to access vehicles, including five thefts that involved “punching” the locks of car doors.

“The last few days has seen a dramatic shift in the approach of thieves on the Peninsula,” reads the police warning.

See also: Sidney RCMP ask drivers to lock car doors after surge in vehicle theft

Items stolen include wallets, personal identification documents, security passes for places of employment, electronics, and binoculars.

Previously, all thefts from vehicles that took place in the area this year were from unlocked vehicles. The aggressive shift to locked vehicles is “concerning”, says Sidney/North Saanich RCMP.

Police say all of the thefts occurred in the downtown residential core of Sidney.

“We have seen a change in the method of these crimes and need to make the public aware,” said Cst. Meighan de Pass, Sidney RCMP Crime Prevention Officer.

“Recently the vehicles targeted have been in secure underground parking lots so we are asking residents to take a moment when returning home to ensure no one enters their parkades behind them. Wait for the gate to close, and don’t let any vehicles or pedestrians enter behind you.”

Anyone who observes someone acting suspiciously in the area is asked to contact Sidney/North Saanich RCMP at 250-656-3931.

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