NEW ORLEANS -- A former criminal shares insight into what goes through car burglar's mind just before the strike.

Eyewitness News met a former thief near one of his old stomping grounds in Uptown, near Prytania Street. And he walked us through how he picked a target.

"That's right easy prey if you just look around everybody is going about their business, talking on their cellphones, not really paying attention," he said.

He told us for nearly a decade he committed crimes to fuel his drug addiction. He says he wasn't picky, just something easy.

"This is money right here; this is money hand down. I wait for a horn; I wait for a light. I don't hear a click, click, that car is open right now," he said.

Any neighborhood in New Orleans could be targeted. However, he preferred the ones where people let their guards down, neighborhoods often considered safe.

"I look up, I broke in this one 250, I go across the street another 250. Well, guess what? When I get back to where I'm going, I'm telling my partners. Boy look, they leave their money in their cars. Where at? Right up Prytania. Before you know it, here come everybody," he said.

While Eyewitness News was in the parking lot in Uptown, we saw many on their phones, getting out not paying attention to their surroundings, not looking out for someone watching them.

"And they come out, just strolling, happy jolly," he said, gesturing to the people around him. "I look in this car right now there's a box with CDs, it could be valuable."

It doesn't matter he says; it takes about 20 seconds to pull open a door and grab items. Over and over again we saw people distracted. And he has this special warning for women.

"They are going for a walk or something; I see this all time in the parks. Open their trunk and throw their purse right in," he said. "You just threw your purse in there, and you have no idea who just saw it."

Our now rehabilitated criminal said, at the time, his drug addiction was the driving force behind his crimes. He hopes those who listen to his story will now take extra precautions. He hopes those who are still addicted to drugs and committed to a life of crime will hear this plea.

"For so long we get away, but oh my when it catches up, when that bus stops it's hell to pay the piper."