MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A car break-in was caught on camera in West Miami and that new surveillance tape illustrates what West Miami’s police chief says is an alarming and growing problem here in South Florida.
Authorities have told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that car burglaries have skyrocketed in South Florida in the past five years.
West Miami’s police chief says everyone should be aware that they should not leave valuable possessions in plain sight when they walk away from their vehicles.
As CBS4 showed you first at noon, the August 16th burglary took just seconds. Video captured the man walk up to the car, peer in the rear window and then break it with a punch device. He then reached in and grabbed a purse before running to a waiting car.
West Miami Police Chief Nelson Andreu believes the guy has done this before and he wants to get him off the street.
“You can see that the first thing that he does is peek in the backseat. If he had not seen the purse there, he would have gotten back in the car and left,” said Andreu.
Andreu said he’s seen an increase in the number of car burglaries.
“This is one of the crimes that is plaguing South Florida right now. It’s not very serious, no one is getting hurt fortunately, but this is happening daily,” said Andreu.
This particular car burglary happened around two in the afternoon. The woman parked at SW 59th Avenue and 16th Street and went inside the school where she works. Andreu said she was distracted and didn’t notice the two men in the red Nissan who were watching her.
“The woman pulls up at her job and she’s on her phone. First of all, she’s not paying attention to her surroundings, which is one thing we instill in people is you know you’re getting out of your car, put the phone down and pay attention to see who is around you. Fortunately this was just a break-in to a car after she had left but the potential was there for anything,” said Andreu. “We ask not just women but everyone to be aware of their surroundings. This is going on a lot now. Where women get out and leave their purse the car, the bad guys see that she’s not carrying anything so where is the purse. It has to be in the car.”
Andreu said he’s working with other police chiefs in the area about this problem.
“I am working with police chiefs in cities including South Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables,” said Andreu.
As CBS4 has reported in the past, police in West Miami, South Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables have been extremely pro-active in trying to curb the problem of car burglaries and car hoppers, who are criminals who skirt from vehicle to vehicle looking for unlocked cars and trucks they can get into to steal whatever they can.
Car hoppers look for items including cash, sunglasses, IPads, laptops, GPS devices and any items they can grab quickly.
Andreu said detectives have recovered the red Nissan but they are not sure who was inside it.
Anyone with information should contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).