CRIME TRACKER: Car prowlers caught in the act

KENNEWICK, WA. - The KEPR Crime Tracker is always pointing our car prowls around the Tri-Cities. Tonight a Kennewick man shared with us the video of three prowlers caught in the act.

It is tough to feel anything, but helpless when you fall victim to a crime. That was how one Kennewick homeowner felt when he woke up to find expensive valuables gone.

"Feels violating, feels vulnerable and open, who know it could have been something else," said the man we will call "John."

The items were taken from John's car -- parked outside his home in a neighborhood near Kamiakin. Lucky for John, his neighbors had installed security cameras. It recorded three-people in the act and helped John take the car prowl in stride.

"The video gives me hope that we will be able to catch the culprits and maybe even help them, who knows they may be struggling themselves," said "John."

Police say that even though video of the act is helpful, use of the footage is often rare.

"It reports the information, it doesn't prevent it, if you want to use it as a preventative tool, then it needs to be monitored constantly," said Kennewick's PD Mike Blatman.

What often makes it tough for police is the quality of the cameras.

"A lot of times because of weather, the way cameras are set up, they don't do a lot for us," Said Blatman.

Police say the biggest thing to protect yourself won't come from a store. It's leaving valuables out of your car and keeping your doors locked.

I discovered John's break-in was just one of numerous targets around Kennewick. In a four-day stretch this week Kennewick Police took reports of nine car prowls. Officers couldn't say just yet if the video "John" has will help crack his case, but the experience has left him rattled.

"It's not just a simple stealing of goods, it's something that affects the emotions and safety of their victims," said "John."

Now even with the jump in the number of car prowls this past week. Benton County is pacing similar to the number of car prowls seen by this point last year.