By Peter D'Oench

PINECREST (CBSMiami) – New surveillance tape obtained exclusively by CBS4 shows car burglars and thieves preying on homeowners in the Village of Pinecrest. The thought is that the thieves are part of an organized auto theft ring with connections to Broward County.

CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with four of the victims and two of them said their cars were stolen and left abandoned in Fort Lauderdale. They said they were able to track them through GPS technology on their cars.

Maria Flores said surveillance cameras outside her parent’s home show how swiftly the criminals moved last Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The tape shows them arriving in a white Cadillac. As a driver waits, two of them jump out of the vehicle and run towards two cars and ransack them and steal many items.

It all happens in less than 60 seconds and then they leave.

Flores said, “We saw two guys arrive in the Cadillac and they took items from both cars. They took all my mother’s belongings. They took her ID, her jewelry, her cameras. They took my Dad’s electronics. It took them less than a minute to get everything.”

“The two cars were locked,” she added. “They must have been using some sort of remote to get in to our vehicles. One of them was a Cadillac Escalade. I am 100 per cent sure they were locked. It is incredible that in the middle of the day in the middle of the week that they can take stuff from your home. I think this is really bad . This neighborhood is supposed to be safe. People need to be aware. Just be aware of your surroundings and anything suspicious.”

Flores’ mother, Maricruz Sainz Deaja, said, “They took my jewelry, my credit cards, my checkbook, my personal ID, my social security card, my drivers’ license. I feel terrible. It’s the third time we have been victimized in three years though it was not the same people. These people must be captured. And somehow they must have known how to get in to the locked cars.”

Pinecrest police said the thieves are part of an “active investigation” and said they did not want to comment because that might hinder the investigation.

While Flores said this was not the case at her home, police in Pinecrest said 95% of car thefts involve unlocked car. They urge everyone to lock their cars because thieves know how to detect if they are unlocked.

Car owners are also urged to make themselves familiar with their car’s GPS tracking ability. That enabled two of the victims to find their stolen cars.

Two other victims said they saw the suspects trying to break in their cars or garage and were able to chase them away.

A spokeswoman for Pinecrest police told CBS4 that in the past 60 days 12 cars have been stolen and 15 vehicles have been burglarized.

Anyone with information about these criminals should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

Peter D'Oench

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