How to protect yourself from thieves who target tourists

WKBN 27 First News Producer Lorie Barber's family was targeted by thieves during their vacation

WKBN 27 First News Producer Lorie Barber and her husband, Dan, spent six months planning the perfect road trip across the American West. They traveled 1,300 miles in a rental car, making stops along the way. 


BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A dream vacation turned into a living nightmare for a Mahoning County family

WKBN 27 First News Producer Lorie Barber and her husband, Dan, spent six months planning the perfect road trip across the American West. They traveled 1,300 miles in a rental car, making stops along the way.

But then, just hours before they flew home, all of their luggage — including souvenirs from their trip — were stolen.

Barber said they were gone for just half an hour while they explored the sites in San Francisco.

“When we got back to the car, we noticed all the windows were broken out,” she said.

Barber’s situation isn’t unique.

According to SmarterTravel.com, thieves often target rental cars because tourists are more likely to be carrying valuable items and less likely to stick around to file police reports.

Barber said they were unprepared for the incident, but a call to their insurance company helped set them straight.

Insurance Agent Shaun Sommers said the first step after you’ve been robbed is to call police and then the rental agency and insurance companies. He told the Barbers that their homeowner’s insurance would cover many of their stolen belongings, and their car insurance covers the damage to the rental car.

He added that it is important to make a list of what you’re taking with you.

“You’re trying to remember everything from socks to jeans, and all your clothes, and then your personal items,” he said.

There are steps you can take to prevent against theft.

Sommers said it’s important to always carry valuables with you. Smarter Travel recommends hiding valuable items, like cameras and electronics — and even charging cords that indicate valuable electronics may be nearby.

Thieves often focus on spots with heavy visitor traffic, such as parking lots for national parks and airports.

Travel Insurance Review’s website has tips to make your rental car look less like a tourist’s, including removing guidebooks and maps from sight.

As always, make sure your car and trunk are both locked.

Barber said her loss totaled $6,000, but it could have been worse.

“I was so thankful I had my camera, plus my cell phone on my person while we were in the park, because memories, you can’t replace the memories,” she said.

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