ROSEWOOD HEIGHTS - Home security cameras captured footage of a suspect breaking into cars just after 3 a.m. in Rosewood Heights early Wednesday morning.

Captain Mike Dixon of the Madison County Sheriff's Office said five separate reports were filed after several cars were violated in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Dixon said searching unlocked cars for valuables was a common habit for both young people and drug addicts, adding it never ceases to amaze him what people leave in unlocked cars. In this instance, a laptop may have been the most valuable item stolen, and it was recovered near Van Preter Park in East Alton, which suggests the suspect may be from that area.

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While the home security footage does not give a clear image of his face, Dixon is hoping someone may recognize the pattern of his clothing who is related to or associated with him. He is described as a tall, skinny white male in his late teens or early 20s.

"It's nice to have it," Dixon said of the footage. "But, it's not very clear on his face."

Amanda Marie Grant, who captured the footage and shared it with both police and publicly on social media said she had a multi-USB charger, a charging cable and a splitter for an iPhone 7.

"We typically don't keep anything of extreme value in our vehicles," Grant said.

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Grant said she has lived in the area for four years, and this instance was the first time vehicle theft has been an issue.

Not keeping extreme valuables in vehicles is a good idea, Dixon said. He said people keep laptops, jewelry, house keys, large amounts of cash and even firearms in unlocked vehicles.

"People wonder how suspects are getting armed," he said. "They aren't going to gun shows or their local gun shops. They're arming themselves from unlocked cars."

No firearms were reported stolen from this particular instance, but Dixon said it is a common occurrence with unlocked cars. He said the best defense is simply locking the vehicle.

"People say if they lock their doors, they'll just break the window, and that is simply not true," Dixon said. "The vast majority of offenders will not bust a window and cause a loud shattered glass sound. They'll just move onto the next unlocked car."

Anyone with any information on this suspect or this incident is asked to contact the Madison County Sheriff's Office at (618) 692-6087.

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