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Crime in Focus: Criminals targeting garage sales | News

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Crime in Focus: Criminals targeting garage sales
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - For many Arkansans, garage sales are an easy way to make quick cash . Unfortunately, they are also an opportunity for crooks to rip you off.

From fall décor to outdoor grills, Melanie Matthews has bargains galore at her west Little Rock garage sale.

She laughs, "At 6:15 a.m. there were tons of cars out. "It's time consuming pulling everything out, arguing about whether we're keeping it or selling it."

Three hours into the sale and Matthews already made a couple hundred bucks. But garage sales can turn sour if you're not careful.

Little Rock Police Department's Officer Bruce Jones has seen his share of great garage sale customers and those with ulterior motives.

He explains, "I think it happens a whole lot more often than what you suspect. My wife actually had a garage sale one day and we had some items come up missing that were pretty expensive items, $50-60 deals."

His advice is never host a sale alone, know your merchandise, and be wary of people working in teams.

"They show up in a large group, they kind of scatter. Someone may ask you a question to divert your attention away from your money or whatever you're doing," says Jones.

You'll also want to be sure to keep your house locked at all times and never let anyone in to use your bathroom or phone.

Don't advertise the sale as a "Moving Sale," which implies the house may soon vacant-- an open invitation for burglars or vandals."

If you do have a cash box, have someone watch it at all times and only make change for small bills. Large bills can be counterfeit.

Matthews says, "You scared me when you said he had said to be aware of that. I hadn't that of that... at all."

If you do have something stolen, Officer Jones says it'll likely be hard to track down because chances are there's not a serial number.

Jones adds, "Keep an eye out and call us if you need anything."

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