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      It's the most wonderful time of year for thieves

      Christmas has come and gone, but thieves are still at the peak of their holiday crime sprees.

      Malls are still packed as thousands are returning gifts and looking for big sales.

      Shoppers will notice an increase of police around the area.

      They are on high alert as they watch for thieves who are looking to cash in.

      "People save up all year sometimes for the holiday shopping season, so this is the time where they are in the possession of their most valuable items|" Sgt. Osborne said. "Criminals know this."

      Sergeant Osborne from the Harlingen Police Department said thieves have their own shopping lists for the holidays.

      They steal from cars in parking lots of malls and even from purses, wallets and homes.

      People should be aware that thieves may be following you for a while, according to Sgt. Osborne.

      He says you need to be careful what you throw away in your trash because it is the first place thieves look and decide if they want to break-in to your home.

      "This is basically advertising to the criminals out there what you have in your home," Sgt. Osborne said.

      If you have the box to a big screen television, a computer, or anything you consider valuable, you should cut the box down before throwing it away.

      Sgt. Osborn says taking one ID with you while shopping is enough.

      "When you bring too much information with you in your purse or your wallet, typically people don't need to bring their birth certificate with them or social security card," Sgt. Osborne said. "These are all things thieves take to make you a victim of identity theft."

      Sgt. Osborne's final tip is to not post pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of what you got for Christmas.

      He says this is another way to attract thieves and keep filling their shopping list with stolen items.