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Posted: 9:03 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. —
Walnut Creek police said a tool that's meant to protect newspaper subscribers who leave town, could be doing the opposite. Walnut Creek police are warning people that criminals may have access to vacation hold records from the Contra Costa Times and they could be using that information to target homes. Walnut Creek police said they got the warning from other law enforcement agencies and they're looking into the issue, but investigators have seen this kind of crime before.
"If you stop (your service), then it kind of broadcasts you're going to be gone," said newspaper subscriber Julie Petrie. "And they know the start dates and the end dates." Police said there's an easy alternative to putting a vacation hold on newspaper subscriptions. "Make sure you have a neighbor or somebody who's going to be able bring your mail or newspapers inside," said Walnut Creek police Sgt. Brian McCoglin. KTVU was unable to reach anyone with the Contra Costa Times, or its parent company, the Bay Area News Group, for comment. Newspaper subscribers Rosemary and Dennis O'Brien said they now rely on a neighbor to pick up their paper for them when they're out of town. "That way, it's in the house safe and nobody would know that we're gone," Rosemary O'Brien said. Despite these new concerns, police said using common sense is still the best defense against break ins and they recommended turning on a light and not leaving items out such as garbage cans.
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