The workout bag was gone, and so was the yoga mat.

Lauren Abeyta loves attending her regular yoga class. The soothing art form offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere of stretching and exercise in a serene environment.

“You feel like you’re a better person when you come out of a class,” she says. “It’s an incredible workout.”

Also an avid runner, Abeyta was heading out for her regular class on the afternoon of Jan. 15. She had parked behind her home that Friday and hopped in her car, ready to go.

“I was headed to a yoga class. I got in the car and thought, ‘There’s a breeze in here,’” she says. “Then I saw the rear window smashed.

“I have a guard dog too, but I guess he was asleep that day.”

A thief had broken into the car and grabbed an empty retail bag and her Nike gym bag. Glass covered the backseat of the car. Her husband’s car was parked next to hers, unharmed. Abeyta says it was a scary notion that she was so close to the scene of a crime.

“I work at home and was literally 20 feet from it,” she says.

The two bags were later found down the alley and returned, but her yoga mat did not survive the burglary.

“They took my water bottle and yoga mat. I am now calling him ‘The Yoga Mat Bandit’,” she says with a chuckle.

A.J. Serratos of the Dallas Police Northeast Patrol Division says parking behind a home is OK if there is adequate lighting and a vehicle alarm. However, he says it is always best to keep a car in a garage if at all possible, and never leave items you care about in the car.

“You should never leave anything inside the vehicle that might attract attention,” Serratos says. “You should remember three words: take, lock and hide.”

Since Abeyta often works at home, Serratos also offers some tips for those in a similar situation.

“First of all, never try to confront a thief — it can be very dangerous. The best thing to do is call the police and get a good description of the suspect and what vehicle the thief is driving,” Serratos says. “Consider once in a while going out to your car or looking out a window to make sure everything is OK.”

—SEAN CHAFFIN