Lug nuts loosened on vehicles at Georgian Mall

Police have upped security patrols at malls and other key shopping areas

Security at Georgian Mall has been stepped up after several reports of lug nuts being loosened on vehicles in the parking lot.

Barrie 360 has received a copy of a note sent to mall employees regarding the discovery of loose or missing lug nuts, along with advice to ask for a security escort to their vehicle if they are concerned for their safety.

Barrie Police say they have upped security patrols at malls and other key shopping areas

Peter Leon, Corporate Communications Coordinator with Barrie Police, notes it’s never a bad idea to do the ‘circle check’ we were taught at driving school, “take a quick walk around your vehicle, just check to make sure that the wheel fasteners are all there before you set your vehicle in motion and get into it. If you feel anything that appears to be awkward or out of place with your vehicle, pull over and stop right away. It’s better to be safe than sorry, we do not want to see any wheel separations taking place in our community.”

It may be an isolated incident, but it is that time of year when thieves frequent parking lots, checking for unlocked vehicles and helping themselves to gift items that may have been left inside. If you have a trunk or a hatchback, put it in there, cover it with a blanket … do whatever you have to do to keep the curiosity seekers far enough away.

Comments on social media point to human trafficking, suggesting the loose nuts become a distraction and make it easier to prey on those who are alone.

There are options for staying safe, says Leon.

“There is the availability to have security walk out to your vehicle or walk out with a co-worker, make sure that you’re safely into your vehicle and, there’s nothing wrong before you get into that vehicle, have a look around it.”

And in it.

“If you’ve left your vehicle locked, it should be okay. But ‘should’ isn’t always the answer you should be looking for. You want to be 100% confident before you get into that vehicle that it’s safe to do so.”

If you see anything suspicious, give mall security or police a call.