It is not uncommon to see homeowners selling their unwanted items at garage sales, hoping to make some extra cash as they clear out their homes.
However, crooks can quickly take advantage of unsuspecting sellers, who open their driveways, or yards, to the public.
San Antonio resident Ladonna Lewis held a garage sale to help her with a move, but became the victim of theft when two suspicious strangers came to her sale.
“I decided to have a yard sale, I had a friend there helping me,” Lewis said. “She went inside for a second to use the restroom, and they distracted me and got me.”
Lewis said no items were taken, but her money bag which included about $300 in cash, disappeared.
“I cried for days. That was my moving money, and I had nothing,” said Lewis.
KSAT Crime Analyst, Eddie Gonzales, said yard sales can be a great way to make money for both the seller, and a crook.
“This happens quite a bit,” Gonzales said. “Most of it is the theft of the money box, second would be theft of property, and third, even though it's rare it does happen, where they actually go into the house and they take something.”
To prevent becoming a victim of theft while holding a garage sale, Gonzales offered these tips:
Do not sell alone. There is safety in numbers, so invite your friends and family to help.
Do not keep too much cash with you. As money comes in, designate someone to take it inside. If someone asks to break a large bill, offer to hold the item for them, while they leave to get proper change.
Lock your home and car while the sale is in progress. Never allow anyone inside for any reason.
Keep jewelry or high-priced items close to you. This will help you keep a close eye on your most valuable items.
Sell your items in your driveway or yard, not in an enclosed garage. Doing so blocks visibility and can be dangerous for sellers.
Call police if someone is acting suspiciously, so have a phone handy.