PORTLAND The holiday season is a big time for shopping, but it is also a big day for criminals.

Police warn that this time of year thieves wander parking lots looking for attractive items left in the back seat of cars.

It s like anywhere. You can t leave things in your car anymore, a shopper told KGW.

We present them with opportunities for these incredible gifts that they can get, and they know that people are stuffing them in their cars. You give them an opportunity and they ll take it, another shopper said.

Claudia Lamar learned the hard way. Thieves stole more than $300 worth of gifts from the back of her mini-van in Salem.

Thief steals woman's Black Friday purchases

Car prowlers strike quickly, day and night, and some thieves can get in and out of a car in a matter of seconds.

To deter thieves, police warn to make sure packages are locked in the trunk and out of sight.

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