By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – Cars in Denver are getting stolen from lots at Denver International Airport, and others are being burglarized. According to police reports, nearly 200 cars have been stolen or had something taken from them from lots since January of this year.

Doctor Terri Finney was a victim of those crimes. When she returned from a trip back in February she didn’t see her car that she parked in one DIA’s garages. She says she immediately took action.

“We found a police officer one level down who was investigating a break-in to another car. We told him that my car was missing he looked it up and found that my car had been used in a crime earlier in the day. So, the people that stole my car had actually taken it and were using it to transport the stuff that they were stealing from other cars,” she said.

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When police did find her car, it was no longer drivable.

“Essentially my car was totaled out because they smoked so much meth in it that it was a biohazard,” she said.

That led her down the path of negotiating with insurance, making a police report, buying a new car and replacing the belongings she had stored inside. Not to mention missing work to deal with all of that.

“It cost me a lot of money,” she said.

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Unfortunately, her car along with others were broken into that weekend, aren’t alone. According to the Denver police online crime map, since January there have been 196 car thefts or thefts from motor vehicles at the airport.

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If you include the entire neighborhood, the number jumps up to 933.

Last week Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said car thefts are on the rise.

“They’re up 101%,” he told CBS4’s Shaun Boyd.

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That’s why Denver police have teamed up with the airport to increase patrols in parking areas throughout the holidays. They say you can also protect yourself if you park out there. Lock your car, take all belongings out of it, use and alarm system or a club and never leave your car running.

Dr Finney says if she travels out of DIA again she won’t park in their lots

“I think the thing to do would be to park in one of the private lots where they have security,” she said.

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Michael Abeyta