Burglars strike same family twice in 24 hours

Prince family says Christmas gifts, band equipment, furniture were stolen

The Prince family's door was busted down in the burglary.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After burglars victimized a Westside home twice in 24 hours, the family that lives there said it no longer feels safe.

Someone broke into the Prince family's apartment on San Juan Avenue this week and stole the children's Christmas gifts, along with other family possessions.

The next morning, the Princes got the shock of their lives when the thieves tried again.

The first break-in happened around 7:30 a.m., when Allana Prince took her husband to work. The next morning, it was the exact same situation at almost exactly the same time.

The second time the thieves didn't get in, but after being in the home just three weeks, the Princes are ready to leave.

Allana Prince said she she thinks about what could have happened if she had arrived home while the thieves were there.

"That's why I have to go. We have to go,” she said.

Prince showed News4Jax crime expert Gil Smith, a former JSO officer, where the thieves kicked in her front door Wednesday morning.

Smith said it appeared the thieves had cracked the plaster and took the wood facing off the door frame.

Once inside, the thieves stole Christmas gifts, furniture and equipment for the family's band. Playing gigs is how the Princes earn their living. The loss was in the thousands.

About 24 hours later, the thieves tried to come through the back door, Prince said.

"They tried to come in. Luckily, my husband put this chair up,” Prince said. “As you see, they messed up the floor."

Marks could be seen on the floor where the chair had scraped it.

The JSO crime mapping program shows nearly 200 burglaries within a quarter mile of the Princes' neighborhood in the last year.

Smith said the similarities in the two break-ins at the home could mean it was the same thieves at work. He offered some advice for extra precautions, especially around the holidays.

"Sometimes what people will do, if you don't have an alarm system, they'll take the gifts, wrap them, and take them to a friend's house who may have an alarm system, whose home may be a bit more secure,” Smith said.

Prince is now looking for a new place to live. She's determined not to let this get her family down.

"I'm done crying. We are happy people,” Prince said. “I have my family, and that's what's most important, especially around Christmas time."

A GoFundMe account set up after the first burglary has drawn over $4,000 in donations. The family said it's very grateful to the community for the help. 

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.