(WFRV) – Jerry Stein waves to every person who passes by as he mows his lawn and plays with his dog in his yard in Fox Crossing.

“We only moved here about six months ago, so we’re getting familiar with the neighborhood,” he said. “Seems to be a quiet neighborhood.”

Quiet, indeed, but just down the block was the location of one of an estimated 42 car break-ins, or as the police define them, “illegal entries,” because all of the cars were unlocked over the course of three days in Fox Crossing and Neenah.

“I don’t want to call them car break-ins because there weren’t any windows actually broken,” Fox Crossing Police Department community liaison officer Dan Wiechman said. “These were all just cracks of opportunities where unlocked doors were found, and people removed their property.”

The two suspects behind the spate of incidents late last week were caught early Saturday morning when a Neenah police officer pulled over a car matching the description a witness had provided.

“We were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time on Friday night,” Neenah Police Department community policing coordinator Joe Benoit said.

The suspects were charged with thefts from vehicles and possession of methamphetamines. Electronic devices and hundreds of dollars of cash were among the most expensive items recovered.

“It’s kind of sad to hear about because you’d like to think that things are kind of quiet and under control,” Stein said. “We always lock the car, and usually, at night, we put them in the garage. I see a lot of neighbors have more cars than fit in the garage.”

“It’s sad to say, a lot of these incidents would have been preventable if people would just remember to lock their car doors,” Wiechman said. “If you feel comfortable with leaving your car doors unlocked, rest assured knowing that there is a criminal out there who thinks that you’re an easy target. Make sure you take that easy step and take care of your personal belongings.”

He cites the “9 p.m. Routine,” a nationwide effort to curb theft, as a good habit to check that your car, doors, and windows are locked every night before going to bed.

“Criminals also sense that people have that feeling of safety and are going to prey upon people who take that safety for granted or forget or aren’t that concerned with locking up their personal belongings,” he said. “These are all crimes of opportunity, things that could be easily preventable. Take matters into your own hands and secure your belongings.”

Benoit believes that many criminals, and these ones specifically, are mostly interested in targeting unlocked cars and that simply locking your car is the best deterrent.

“What generally happens is individuals will walk along and check unlocked doors, and they’ll only check vehicles that are unlocked,” he said. “The miscreants that do this sort of thing also think that same thing, that this is a pretty quiet neighborhood, the people who live here don’t think this will happen here, and then, unfortunately, people get victimized.”