POMPANO BEACH (CBS4) – Diane and Derrick DeForge thought they were doing the responsible thing taking their young daughter to swim lessons at the Pompano Beach Aquatic Center off Federal Highway.
But on Monday afternoon, their sense of safety took a dive after they returned to their minivan.
A side window was smashed out and Diane’s bag was gone.
“They took my purse, my wallet, my cards, my pictures. Stuff that meant a lot to me,” lamented Diane.
“We bring our small child to be safe, and it’s frightening,” said Derrick. “When we told other people they started to wonder ‘are they going to be safe?’”
They are not the first victims.
Near where their van was burglarized, glass was all over the ground at another parking space.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office says there have been eight break-ins around the Aquatic Center in the last six months.
The sprawling Pompano Community Park where the Aquatic Center is located has had a total of 21 car smash and grabs since the beginning of the year, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. These type of car break-ins have been going on at south Florida daycare centers, health clubs and parks.
“You really have to look over your shoulder all the time,” said Derrick DeForge.
“It takes a car burglar just seconds, under ten seconds to break into your car and grab your valuables and they’re gone,” says BSO spokesperson Dani Moschella. “We’ve arrested plenty of people and the problem persists. These are crimes of opportunity. Criminals see your valuables. They watch you get out of your car, watch you walk into where you are going, and watch to see if you take your purse with you.”
BSO urges everyone to avoid leaving purses and valuables in your vehicle. Even if you think you are hiding it out of sight inside your car.
The DeForge’s say they wish someone had posted a warning outside the Aquatic Center.
Pompano Beach spokesperson Sandra King there are metal signs throughout the park warning patrons to take their valuables with them.
The DeForge’s hope the city will install cameras at the park.
“I would like to see more police presence and cameras,” said Diane. “We’re busy moms rushing from work to here to lessons.”