The tracks in the snow signaled the crook’s path.

Record snowfall blanketed the area on Feb.11-12, and Roger Pickett and his family were returning to their Stephens Park home that night.

“We had been taking our daughter-in-law to the hospital,” Pickett says. “It was snowing, and the car got stuck. I could not move forward or backward.”

The Picketts’ car was trapped in several inches of snow as Pickett tried to pull his car into the family’s long, steep driveway. They left the car in front of the house that night as snow continued to fall.

The next morning, Pickett went to the driveway to get the newspaper. The snow had stopped, but still covered the ground.

“I thought, ‘How dumb of me, I left my window open,’” he says. “But I didn’t — someone had broken in. They took everything inside the car.”

The thief has smashed the window and made off with a key card as well as other keys and items Pickett uses in his work as a Realtor. The damage and stolen items totaled $500.

Pickett believes the break-in occurred that morning after the snow had stopped because snow was not inside the car. Tracks also were visible form his car to the street.

“It was just random,” Pickett says. “Fortunately, they didn’t ruin the interior of the car.”

The good news was that his daughter-in-law turned out to be OK. Pickett says his son was out of town, and they provided transportation during an emergency.

Dallas Police Deputy Chief Rick Watson of the Southwest Patrol Division says cold weather alone won’t deter criminals.

“Like anyone else, a criminal offender may be unable to operate — driving, traveling on foot or using public transportation — during this kind of weather, and are more susceptible to being caught or tracked due to their lack of mobility,” Watson says. “More residents are likely to be home on these days due to school and work closings, and are therefore more likely to be vigilant of their property and report suspicious activity. Burglars do not like to enter homes when the home is occupied. Based on a five-year trend in crime, February routinely has a reduction in crime, in part due to the normal cold weather issues.”

Despite the weather, Watson says Pickett’s case is an exception to this trend.

“It is fair to say any criminal offender with intent to commit a crime will seize any opportunity they believe will yield successful results, which includes burglarizing a vehicle stuck in the snow.”