WESTON (CBS4) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office is working to catch a pair of car burglars preying on people in Weston.
The burglars are teens — one possibly as young as 12-years-old, according to investigators. Surveillance video shows the pair walking up to cars and trying to break in. Detectives believe they are responsible for a “rash” of car burglaries in the Weston area in early June.
Crime statistics from BSO show this is part of a growing trend throughout Broward County.
Car burglaries have nearly doubled in the jurisdictions patrolled by BSO since December. The number of car break-ins climbed from 322 in December to 612 in May. The total for the past six months is 2,802.
Penny Arney is one of the Weston victims. She and her family moved to Weston from Indiana on June 1. Less than two weeks later, thieves rifled through the family’s three cars stealing cash, documents and a new basketball for Arney’s son.
Arney said the family did not expect this in Weston.
“Obviously there are bad areas everywhere but Weston seems like such a lovely area,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “It was the element of shock.”
Arney admitted that in Indiana the family felt comfortable leaving their car doors unlocked. They did the same in Weston but not anymore.
“We are locking our cars now,” she said. “We are not taking it for granted that we are safe.”
BSO Sgt. Richard LeCerra said thieves across the county are finding unlocked car doors and valuables left in plain sight.
“The economy’s not very good,” he said. “People are looking to make a quick buck. If they can see something in your car that’s of value, they’ll steal it.”
Surveillance video of the Weston car burglaries shows the pair of teens attempting to get into two cars during the late evening hours. Another piece of video shows an older teen walking away from a car after apparently getting inside it.
Kristi Szymanski lives in the Weston neighborhood that was targeted. She and her husband installed surveillance cameras on their home and captured video of one of the attempted break-ins right outside their front door.
“When you actually go back and see that these guys were outside while you were sleeping, it’s a different feeling,” she said. “It’s scary.”
Szymanski said the crimes have had one silver lining — they’ve brought the community closer together. Neighbors created a Facebook page to share news and tips about crime and other items of interest to the community. She said the thieves should know the neighbors are watching more closely now.
“We want them to know that we’re not gonna be easy prey any more,” Szymanski said.
Investigators say the best way to avoid becoming a victim of these growing number of car burglaries is to lock your car doors and not to leave valuables in your car.
If you know who’s behind any of these burglaries call Broward Crimestoppers at 954 493 TIPS.