Several bands of thieves have been breaking into cars in University of Utah parking lots stealing stereo equipment and other valuables, university police said.

"It appears there are two or three groups that are fairly well-organized," said Lt. Dick Richardson. The thieves, working both day and night, shatter windows to gain access and open car doors with long, thin sheets of metal known as "slim jims," which disengage locks. He said the thieves are able to remove personal valuables and stereos in a matter of minutes and are usually working with a lookout.Police said the groups have been working parking lots west of Rice Stadium and lots near the College of Medicine. Volkswagen Jettas and small Chevrolets have been the cars most often hit. The thefts have been occurring for the past five or six weeks, and Richardson said it is not unusual for car thieves to concentrate on one area for a while and then move on.

Richardson said some arrests have been made and university police are investigating other individuals.