Houston area police believe a thief may have used a universal remote during a recent vehicle break-in.

Surveillance video obtained by KPRC-TV in Houston shows a man lurking around a minivan parked in the driveway of a home in the Candlelight Oaks neighborhood. 

The video clip shows the thief rummage through the inside of the van, open the back door and then leave. He got away with some loose change and other items. 

The homeowner tells KPRC her van was locked before the break-in and was still locked the next morning when she got inside and discovered her stuff gone.

There was no damage to the outside of her van, she said police believe the thief may have used a special universal remote that can override the security system of any vehicle. 

"I know that there are types of remotes like that," said Craig Pennington who lives a few blocks away.  "I've heard about remotes that will open garage doors.  I don't know about cars but if they can open garages I'm sure they can unlock cars."

Pennington had a vehicle broken into and another stolen, and says even though the crimes aren't too serious, they're enough to make you feel unsafe. "You know a criminal was just outside your house.  What's the next step?" said Pennington

Police say the best way to protect yourself is not to leave anything of value inside your car.