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DeWitt sees rise in petit larcenies during holidays

Shoppers at this time should use extra caution when leaving packages in their cars parked outside the shopping centers.

"Larcenies from vehicles in parking lots happen more frequently as people tend to place items in clear view in their vehicle as they go from shopping center to shopping center, or store to store," Conway said.

Morris agreed.

"Usually an individual(s) will check the vehicles in an area to determine if the door is unlocked," he said. "If unlocked, they ransack the vehicle to see what they can find. We have had a couple of vehicles where the suspect broke a window to steal an item(s) that was visible."

His advice is to keep the doors to your vehicles and homes locked at all times, and do not leave any valuables inside your vehicle in plain sight. Additionally, if you hear or see something suspicious, call the police and provide as much detail as possible.

Charges

People charged with petit larcenies face varied penalties and are handled case by case. First-time offenders with a clean record may be ordered to do a certain amount of community service, the average being 20 to 40 hours. The file is sealed in six months if the person stays out of all criminal trouble, Benack said.

If there is a history of crime, the defendant may go on probation and/or pay fines and surcharges. The maximum punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in the Onondaga County Correctional Facility in Jamesville.

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