5 smash-and-grab car break-ins reported in Fruit Cove


FRUIT COVE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is investigating five different smash and grabs in three different locations of the Fruit Cove area. Police said all of the crimes happened within one hour.

Five women were the victims of the smash and grabs. Police said the women had left valuables in the cars in plain view.

Investigators also said the women were likely being watched by the person who smashed into their vehicle and took their personal items.

Channel 4 spoke with one of the victims of the crimes Friday night, who wanted to keep her identity private.

"The things are the things, what most upsets me is more of the loss of my security, with my identity and my house and my children," said the victim. "I don't want this to happen to anybody else."

The woman said that her purse was only locked in her car for a few minutes. The crimes all happened while the five victims were running errands in the Fruit Cove area.

"The scary part is that they watched me go in and they did it, and the scary part is that now they know everything," said the victim.

Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson said that smash and grab crimes are crimes of opportunity, especially when valuables are left in plain sight.

"Doors being locked doesn't matter to a burglar. All they have to do is smash the window, grab the purse and be gone in a matter of seconds," said Jefferson. "What police can hope now is that someone uses the credit card and be caught on surveillance tape. That's generally a good link that will help police."

Investigators believe the crimes could be connected and that there may be more than one person responsible.

"Surveillance is obviously being pulled in the areas of where the victim's vehicles were so investigators will look into that," said St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Catherine Payne. "The more people can do to protect themselves, the better."

Anyone with information that can help solve this crime is being asked to call Crime Stoppers in St. Johns County 1-888-277-TIPS