New auto theft numbers are in and they aren't painting a good picture for Anderson County.
It's ranked No. 8 in the entire nation for the highest number of car thefts. While thefts are down across the country, Anderson County saw an increase from 2010 to 2011. Nine hundred vehicles were swiped last year.
The Anderson County Sheriff's Office said there may be a few reasons for those numbers, such as large auto theft rings, and carelessness on the part of the owners.
The car alarm business is good at Rodgers' Stereo in Anderson, but an employee still said the No. 8 auto theft title is a surprise.
"It's surprising thinking of little Anderson being that big and having that much theft, especially with our population," said sales manager Antonio Enloe.
But theft is a danger even the security experts at the store know all too well, even they aren't safe from a break-in.
"They busted my windows out and opened the door," said Enloe. "The alarm went off and they got scared and took off running."
At Rodgers' Stereo they said they can install a basic system for about $250, more advanced systems can run about $1000.
But the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said the most basic way to protect a vehicle is free. Never leave a car running unattended at a gas station, and always lock up. It's a lesson Marques Strobhart learned the hard way.
"I was going to get it fixed so I parked it and I left the doors unlocked," said Strobhart. "When I came back it was gone."
Things are looking up for Anderson county this year. The sheriff's department said there have been fewer than half of the amount of thefts in 2012 as there were at this point in 2011.
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