Southlake DPS officer examines pool cleaner. Image by Southlake DPS.

You’ve stocked up on sunscreen, found the floaties and wrangled the water jugs, and your family is ready to lounge by the pool and enjoy the waning days of summer. Wait, what’s this? Your Polaris robotic pool cleaner is missing?

Police say pool cleaners and vacuums have become the latest target for thieves. Brands like Dolphin, Tristar and Pentair retail from $600 to $1,600, and thieves never even have to break into your home to steal them.

Pool cleaner theft has particularly spiked in Southlake, where eagle-eyed DPS officers discovered five units in the back of a pickup on a routine traffic stop in August. With law enforcement bringing the heat, perps are branching out into other neighborhoods.

Here are some tips from Southlake DPS for protecting your pool equipment:

1) Pull your unit out of the pool each night and lock it up. (Warning: these suckers get heavy when full of water.)

2) Lock your gate, install an outdoor HD camera and/or install motion-detecting lights.

3) Notify your neighbors when you’re headed out of town.

4) Inscribe your name and/or driver’s license number on the unit.

5) Hide an Airtag tracker in it.

“We have to ‘deep end’ on each other to prevent theft,” says the jokester who handles social media for Southlake DPS. Their account is worth a follow just for their stories of dopey criminals and crime spree escapades.