Car owners making life easy for San Carlos criminals
December 6, 2012
Local burglars have had an easier time at their trade in the last month, as a result of local residents being lax about locking up their cars at night.
In the last month alone, 11 vehicles have been broken into in a relatively small patch of south Lee County. And of those burglaries, 91 percent have been on cars that were left in a driveway unlocked, and with more than $6,700 in valuables taken. These are all crimes of opportunity, affording criminals a quick way to get into the cars without any hassle or attention, and allowing them to walk away with cash, wallets, prescriptions and more. During that time period, three guns were stolen from the cars, as well as several laptops, GPS units and credit cards. Even more valuable than the items themselves are the vehicle registrations, which contain a vast and detailed amount of personal information, which can then be parlayed into additional future crimes involving identity theft.
“The bottom line is that residents need to be much more vigilant about locking their doors when they leave their cars – whether at home, work or especially at shopping centers,” said Trish Routte, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers Coordinator. “Something as simple as pressing a button could mean the difference between losing expensive items and keeping your property and identity safe.”
Detectives with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office also encourage people to not leave valuable items in their cars overnight – even when the doors are locked. Guns, computers, wallets and purses should all be brought inside – and definitely left out of clear sight of anyone who might pass by the vehicle.
“The criminal element is making life difficult enough,” Routte said. “By taking a few extra steps in our daily routines, we can make sure that residents aren’t handing over their cash and valuables to criminals on a silver platter.”
Anyone with information on the series of car burglaries in the San Carlos Park area, or anywhere in Southwest Florida, is asked to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting information to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.
For additional information, contact Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator, at 239-477-1407.