Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Auto Break-Ins, Thefts Becoming Problem at Apartment Complexes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Auto Break-Ins, Thefts Becoming Problem at Apartment Complexes

Article excerpt

Police are warning residents of apartment complexes on the

Southside and in Mandarin of an upswing in auto thefts and auto

burglaries -- and advising them on how not to be the next

victim.

A letter to apartment dwellers in those areas is being

circulated by Officer Steve Seach of the Jacksonville Sheriff's

Office, seeking residents' help in curbing the crimes.

"We are asking you not to leave any valuables such as cell

phones, wallets, checkbooks, CDs, laptop computers, purses and

golf clubs in plain view inside your vehicles," the letter

states. "This increases the chance you will become a victim. The

loss of your checkbook and ID leads to a new wave of crime."

The letter also suggests that vehicle owners consider using

steering column locking devices such as the Club or having a

vehicle alarm installed.

Seach, a 25-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office,

said the letter was prompted by several mass incidents.

"Around Thanksgiving, we sent an officer out to a complex on

Losco Road to take a report on an auto burglary," Seach said.

"He got out there and it turned out to be 12 auto burglaries. A

week later we had six auto burglaries in a complex on San Jose

Boulevard."

But it was two weeks ago that criminals targeted an apartment

complex on Belle Rive Boulevard, stole one vehicle, and

burglarized 15 others.

"Before stealing that 16th car, they abandoned another car they

had stolen somewhere else," Seach said.

The car stolen from the Belle Rive complex was later found on

the Northside parked at a home for sale, Seach said. "Inside the

home, we found hundreds of items that had been stolen from

cars."

Leaving things like identification, credit cards and checkbooks

in vehicles just gives the crooks the means to commit more

crimes, he said. …

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