The Aiken Department of Public Safety is investigating a rash of 20 break-ins around the city this weekend.


Five of the break-ins were reported on Whiskey Road, Corporate Parkway and South Aiken Lane between 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday. In each case, a window was broken to gain access to the vehicle.


Nine of the break-ins were reported in the River Bluff subdivision between 10:55 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Friday, according to reports. Additional break-ins were reported on Rutledge Road, Business Court, Meadow Wood Place, Newberry Street and Park Avenue.


No arrests have been made. Lt. Jake Mahoney, a spokesman for Aiken Public Safety, said many of the cases share similarities. Most of the vehicles along the Whiskey Road corridor were forcibly entered.


“In most, but not all, there were items of value left in plain view,” he said.


Many of the vehicles broken into on residential streets were left unsecured.


“A lot of people have it in their heads: If I leave my vehicle unlocked, I may get my items stolen, but at least I won't get my windows smashed,” Mahoney said. He urged motorists to remove items of value from their vehicles, including iPods, GPS devices, wallets, purses and cash.


“If you're not going to remove them from the vehicle, at least remove them from plain view,” he said.


Some people carry important documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards in their wallets or purses, but authorities say it's best to leave those items at home in a locked box or safe.


Mahoney said vehicle break-ins are difficult crimes to solve, but police hope someone may have seen something and will come forward.


“Someone, at some point, had to have seen these suspects,” he said. “If you see people milling around parking lots, walking through residential neighborhoods late at night or in the very early morning hours, especially if you don't know these people, call Public Safety,” he said. “Let us come out and at least make contact. It may be innocuous, there may be no criminal activity at all, but at least we can have the opportunity to stop by, find out who's in the neighborhood and who's doing what.”


Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call Aiken Public Safety at 803-642-7620.


Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012.