Lock presents in the trunk and don’t leave anything visible in the car when Christmas shopping, police in Vancouver warned yesterday.

Phil Ens, a detective with the Vancouver’s auto crime enforcement team, said December is the busiest month for theft from cars.

The city experienced an 18 per cent spike in the crime in December last year. Ens said thieves lurk in parking lots and watch for shoppers dropping off gifts. He recommended using an antitheft device and removing the cable that pops the trunk.

Ens, who was dressed as an elf (a very large elf), loaded a car with presents, which he called “bait gifts” and demonstrated how thieves easily break into cars. He jimmied a lock in seconds with a slim jim and then smashed two windows with a small piece of porcelain.