Car burglar targets movie rental kiosk users in Clay County

Deputies say burglar stole wallet, cellphone from car

Deputies say robber seen stealing from vehicle while two people (pictured, right) use Redbox kiosk.
Deputies say robber seen stealing from vehicle while two people (pictured, right) use Redbox kiosk.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies are looking for the public's help in identifying a burglary suspect who stole from a car parked near a Redbox kiosk at a Clay County Walmart.

Deputies were dispatched on Oct. 13 to a Walmart on County Road 220 in reference to a car burglary.

Nichole Marini and her boyfriend, Kenneth Elliot drove up to the front of the Walmart at 7:30 p.m. to rent a movie from a Redbox unit.

Authorities said the vehicle they were driving in was turned off, the keys were removed, but they had left the car unlocked.

Marini said she had left her wallet and cell phone in the car, which deputies said were on the floorboard on the passenger side.

"If you look at the video, it might have taken him three seconds and that's being generous so it was right there, her purse and phone and everything was right there sitting on the floor board in the passenger's seat," said Clay County Public Information Officer, Mary Justino.

Marini noticed that the tail lights were turning on and off, which she thought was peculiar while standing at the Redbox. When the doors of the car are opened, deputies said the tail lights will illuminate.

Deputies said Marini later discovered that her wallet was missing from inside of the car. The estimated value of the property taken, according to Marini, was $600 for the call phone and $30 in cash. There were also various credit and debit card stolen, officials said.

Marini recalled that there was a heavy-set white man walking past the car towards Subway shortly after the tail lights shut off, deputies said.

"This is a case where we've released some really good surveillance photos and the actual video clip of the man stealing from this woman's car her personal belongings, in hopes that someone will know who he is and can call and let us know," said Justino.

Authorities said Marini also remembered that the man was sitting in the passenger seat of a gold-colored sedan playing loud music when they pulled up to the Redbox unit. He was wearing a tan jacket, blue jean pants and a baseball cap. Deputies said he was last seen walking westbound in the parking lot towards College Drive. Marini suspects that the man stole her wallet and cell phone.

Deputies said they would like to identify a woman who was possibly with the man that day in the store.

"So what we suspect is this man possibly knew the woman if she was with him earlier, were in the parking lot watching for someone to do exactly what this victim did, which is park their car on the curb, walk a short distance away and leave the car unlocked," said Justino.

Investigators noticed fingerprints around the passenger side door frame.

"I think especially going into the holidays we always want to emphasize what we call in Clay County, 'Like it, Lock it,' if you like your belongings lock your car no matter what every time every where, even in your own driveway, and definitely even in a parking lot of a shopping center or a grocery store, even if your just a few feet away," said Justino. "This video demonstrates how very easy it is for someone to take your belongings."

Those with information about this incident are asked to call the Clay County Sheriff's Office at 904-264-6512.

PHOTOS: Car burglar suspect targets those using kiosk