GREENWOOD COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenwood County Sheriff Dennis Kelly is warning people about an uptick in car break-ins across the area.

Sheriff Kelly said since June 19, items like money, jewelry and guns have been taken from unlocked cars.

“They go up and they just pull door handles and if they’re unlocked, they get in there and ramble around and see what they can find,” said Kelly.

Kelly said suspects are targeting cars in several neighborhoods and apartment complexes.

“Some people in their mind say, ‘I shouldn’t have to lock my car,’ and you shouldn’t have to, but this is proof that you need to because they’re taking people’s merchandise or personal belongings out of their vehicle,” said Kelly.

Kelly said four guns are among the items taken and reported stolen.

“And that’s four weapons you know just in a few weeks that’s out on the street somewhere that may be used,” said Kelly.

It’s a concern for community members who said they’re worried those guns will end up in the wrong hands.

“Anybody dumb enough to leave a gun in their car without it being locked, they shouldn’t own a gun anyway,” said Denise Modra, the property manager at Amber Chase townhomes.

Modra said they’re installing a new security camera at the complex after recent car break-ins.

“We’re getting ready to load it up, and hopefully deter this and catch somebody that someone will recognize,” said Modra.

Modra said she sends frequent reminders to tenants, telling them to lock their cars and be smart with their belongings.

“Lock your car doors. I don’t know how many emails I’ve sent out to my residents about that and let them know there’s a rash of it,” said Modra.

Sheriff Kelly said locking car doors is the best defense.

“Newer cars, they break the windows and the alarm will go off, so they [suspects] really don’t want to do that,” said Kelly.

Sheriff Kelly encourages people to keep valuable items, including guns, in their homes in a safe spot. He also said if people notice items missing from their car, call the Sheriff’s Office to file a report. He also said people should be alert and report any suspicious activity in their neighborhood.