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By Dave Lopez

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles police with the Rampart Division held a press conference Thursday to raise awareness of a spike in burglary and thefts from vehicles in the area.

Capt. Steve Ruiz with the LAPD said authorities have arrested gang members and transient-types suspected of auto-related crimes, as well as, stealing purses and valuables from shopping carts of unsuspecting people.

According to police, auto theft remains the biggest issue.

Last month, there was a 7-day period when 12 vehicles where cars were taken, driven around and then dumped once they ran out of gas. Police refer to this as joy-riding theft.

Another major increase is at bus stops where people wearing gold chains are being targeted.

Anyone with information as to the crimes described or the suspects is urged to contact the LAPD Rampart Division at (213) 484-3490.

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