HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Brazen "smash and grab" thefts are becoming more common, police say.
In the latest incident on Wednesday afternoon, a thief targeted a Hawaii Kai preschool parking lot, waiting for parents to dash in so they can break into their cars.
Midori Libby left her car unattended for a just a moment as she went into KCAA Kuapa Preschool to pick up her 5-year-old daughter
"I never thought that anybody was watching. People are always walking around," she said. "I parked, locked the car, and then went inside the school, pick her up. Came out, it was only like five minutes, maybe?"
But it was just long enough for the thieves to strike.
She returned to find the broken glass from the passenger side window of her vehicle.
"I had my purse and my gym bag, and then a Costco bag," she said.
Midori's husband, Joseph, suspects the thieves were probably waiting in the bushes, waiting for people to leave their cars.
"They know they leave their purse so they go and smash the window and grab the purse," he said.
But the story doesn't end there.
The purse had some cash and credit cards, and the thieves wasted no time in using the plastic.
"She was talking to the police and I was calling the cards" to cancel them, said Joseph Libby. "And we find out already from the Hawaiian Miles that they spent $2,800 on Microsoft."
Cyber crime expert Chris Duque said thieves are getting smarter -- and faster.
"There's a good possibility that the smash-and-grabbers used their own cell phone or mobile devices to make the fraudulent purchases, which would help investigations," Duque said.
That's because the online ordering could be traced. However, that would require a warrant.
The Libbys also thought they might be able to track the thieves by finding out the address where the order from Microsoft is being shipped. But Microsoft told them that they can't give them that information.
"Her credit card got stolen. And they still wouldn't give her the address," said Joseph Libby.
Duque said that in these cases, "time is on the bad guys' side. Because of the fact that that it may involve jurisdiction and the identification of the culprits."
However, Duque said the crime could still be solved. It just may take longer.
In the meantime, Duque said, people should never leave valuables in a car, even if the car will be unattended for a just a few minutes.