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BROOKHAVEN, Ga. -- Dr. Jason Whitener had a sinking feeling when he returned to his car Tuesday night after watching one of his son's little league baseball games at Murphy Candler Park.

The senior minister at St. Luke's Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody found the window of his Honda Accord was smashed in, and his briefcase was gone.

"Inside were a number of things, but the most special to me was my Bible that I've had for 20 years," Dr. Whitener told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie. "It has all my notes from all those years. I've used it for every sermon and Bible study I've led, so it's very special."

Brookhaven Police officials said they've seen an increase in car break-ins in recent weeks, and they said neighboring cities are seeing the same trend.

They've stepped up patrols, and they've canvassed neighborhoods to pass out flyers that show residents how to protect their property.

"Take your valuables out of your car, or at the very least, hide them and lock your vehicles," said Brookhaven Police Maj. Brandon Gurley.

"These crimes happen quickly, he added. "Usually there are no witnesses because they look for opportunities when no one else is around. That's why we've got to ask residents to do their part to make it a more difficult crime."

Brookhaven Police are investigating the theft of Dr. Whitener's Bible but admit that car break-ins can be tough crimes to crack.

"It saddens me that people stoop to that level and violate other folks and take their property, but I know it's a reality in the world," Dr. Whitener said.

Dr. Whitener's Bible is black leather with his name engraved on the front. It's a study Bible that's full of notes and keepsakes, he said.

​He's hoping that it will turn up somewhere somehow.

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