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Shopper beware: Staying safe during holiday rush




It's almost crunch time for the holiday shopping season, and Hays Police Chief Don Scheibler is urging caution.

He's also urging caution as revelers celebrate both Christmas and the quick-to-follow New Year's festivities.

So far this season, it's been relatively quiet, but Scheibler said it's still a good idea for shoppers -- as the final deadline approaches -- to remain vigilant.

It's a message he and other law enforcement officials recommend each year.

Never, Scheibler said, should shoppers leave packages or other valuables where they are visible in a car. Instead, he said, they should be locked in the trunk or put out of sight.

That's a recommendation Scheibler makes at other times in the year, as well.

Scheibler also recommends people take steps to keep control of their purse and their vehicle.

"Be aware of your surroundings," he said.

Scheibler also suggests people avoid "carrying large sums of cash when shopping and be cautious with credit cards."

That way, cash won't be lost and the potential for theft of credit card information is minimized.

Scheibler said there have been few reports of thefts or even shoplifting, save for the occasional small-scale items.

Even the occasional passing of counterfeit bills has dropped off, numbering only three so far this month.

"In October, we had 15," Scheibler said.

Typically, anywhere from three to five counterfeit bills are reported in Hays each month.

"Enjoy the holidays," he said, but cautioned against drinking too much and especially drinking and driving. "Make good use of Safe Ride."

Safe Ride is a free service that operates from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturdays. Call (785) 621-2580 to get a ride.