Jacksonville Beach car thefts investigated

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Police are investigating a string of car thefts in Jacksonville Beach and want people to be on high alert this holiday season. Police said this time of the year is very important to be aware of who is entering and leaving your neighborhood.

Ross Heilman said it happened in an instant -- his wife's brand new silver 2014 Honda Accord went missing while he and his wife were asleep.

"It was a shock. She wakes up in the morning to go to work and gone. It was right here and it just disappeared," Heilman said.

Police told Heilman that the thieves likely drove through his neighborhood in the early hours of the morning on Dec. 18 and then towed his wife's car away.

"I heard an odd sound. Maybe they were jacking the car up, and we heard the springs of the car or something like that. The cops seem to think they put it on rollers and quietly pushed it out of the driveway," Heilman said.

Police also told Heilman he was not the only person targeted. Three police reports show that other vehicles, even a scooter, were also stolen this month.

"We're thinking about a neighborhood watch in our neighborhood," Heilman said

"It seems to be cyclical, but it happens in this neighborhood and we're just going to be more watchful and cautious."

Jacksonville Beach police said they want the public to be on high alert and always rolling up the windows, locking vehicle doors, take the keys and keep any valuables hidden.

Jacksonville Beach Police issued this statement:

"If you must leave valuable items in your car while out and about, place items out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously. This includes packages, backpacks, gym bags, GPS units, MP3 players, and so forth. Keep in mind someone may be watching when you put items under or behind a seat or throw something over them. An opportunistic thief is on the lookout for "trunk-packing", and can break into your car the minute you're out of sight."

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