72ºF

3 St. Johns County schools burglarized

photo

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Police are searching for whoever burglarized three schools in St. Johns County within an 8-mile radius of each other.

In all, the thieves got away with thousands of dollars worth of school property.

The targets of the burglaries were Cunningham Creek Elementary School, Julington Creek Elementary School and Fruit Cove Middle School.

Last week at Fruit Cove Middle, deputies found that someone had gotten into the science and technology portables behind the main building and made off with a sack full of stuff.

"We look to put technology in the classroom, so that's our focus, to keep it in there," Fruit Cove Principal Steve McCormick said.

Detectives did not want to reveal what was taken until they finish their investigation. They said part of the crime was caught on camera, and they believe the people who hit the middle school have been burglarizing other places nearby.

"There seems to be a connection with several burglaries here in the northwest section of the county," said Cpl. Catherine Payne, of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said that around the same time, Julington Creek Elementary also had a similar burglary. Shortly before that, someone broke into Cunningham Creek Elementary.

And deputies said homes and businesses have also fallen victim recently in the usually low-crime area. But detectives think they're close to solving many of them.

"There are several suspects in this case that we are actively seeking," Payne said.

Until then, deputies said they're increasing patrols, and school leaders said they too will be keeping an extra eye out.

"We continue to keep the alarms set, the gates locked and the surveillance equipment in the back," McCormick said.

If you have any information about the burglaries, call Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS.