ST. JOHNS, Fla. – Several more burglaries of homes under construction have occurred in St. Johns County. The latest were in the St. Johns area of the county.
At least half a dozen police reports have been filed on homes in the area. Burglars have taken at least five dishwashers, worth an estimated $2,000 from inside homes under construction.
Some of those homes don't even have door handles yet, and some neighbors in the area are now concerned that their homes could soon be a target.
"For such a nice area, I'm shocked to hear that's going on," said Shelly Hanks.
Hanks and her husband, Mike, hadn't heard about the recent string of burglaries to homes in their neighborhood until News4Jax interviewed them.
For the past few months, St. Johns officials said the heavy construction area here has been a hot spot for burglars who are looking for a quick buck.
Almost all of these homes on the block are under construction and they're not locked, making them what police are calling an "easy target."
Recent police reports show burglars are taking things like stoves, dishwashers and countless other kitchen appliances.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said those appliances are often very tough to track down.
"In many cases, when it's under construction and the appliances are just installed into the home, oftentimes the contractor doesn't record the serial numbers, so if someone has stolen the appliances and takes them to a pawn shop, it may be more difficult to recover," Smith explained.
Police said they've already spoken to the three companies who filed the recent reports and they said No. 1, they need to lock their doors.
"At the time we were building our house, we had some of our neighbors saying, 'Hey, your house is done. It's ready for closing. But the doors are open, and the lights are on. And so we're going over in the evening to lock the doors for you,'" Shelly Hanks said. "That's a little concerning to me. You're spending that much money on a home that you're thinking is being overlooked for protection purposes by the people that work here on site."
The police said in cases like these not much can be done. The burglars are not forcing entry, and they said they've had multiple conversations with the construction companies to make sure all the homes are locked.