CARLSBAD (CNS) - There have been about 30 thefts of patio furniture in recent months in the small city of Carlsbad, and police Saturday said residents should use caution when leaving unsecured items in open spaces.

"We need the community to be the eyes and ears of their neighborhood, reporting all suspicious activity when it is taking place," said Investigations Sgt. Pete Pascual, adding witnesses should take note of information like a license plate number, a vehicle description and a direction of travel.

Police in July noticed a trend of stolen furniture, bicycles and art in vehicles or an open garages from front patios and yards, according to Jodee Sasway, Carlsbad Police Department spokeswoman.

The thieves struck throughout the 42.1 square mile city seemingly at random, making it harder for police to predict their next move, Sasway said.

She said the best way to ensure the crooks are caught would be for alert citizens to notice suspicious activity and report it to police by calling (760) 931-2197, or to 911 to report a crime in progress.