Thieves have targeted dozens of vehicles in an area of south Minneapolis in recent weeks, and police said that the victims are tempting the perpetrators by leaving valuables "in plain sight."

Police received 46 reports of thefts from vehicles from mid-November through Tuesday throughout the Phillips neighborhood. No arrests have been made in what the police in a written crime alert called "a rash of theft from autos."

More than 40 of these cases involve "items of value [that] were left in plain sight in the vehicle," according to the alert.

Striking primarily at night, thieves have made off with laptop computers, digital cameras, iPods, iPads, cell phones, GPS devices, power tools, car stereos, hundreds of dollars in cash, and wallets and purses with credit cards.

One person had the addictive painkiller Oxycodone stolen.

"Do not leave items in your car that might tempt a thief," the alert admonished.

If valuables cannot be removed the vehicle, police said it's best to put them in the trunk before reaching your destination. "The thieves might be watching as you arrive," the alert noted.

Otherwise, police have other suggestions to protect belongings:

• Park in a locked garage.

• Do not leave garage door opener in the vehicle when parked outside.

• Park in well-lit areas.

• Call 911 about any suspicious behavior.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482