JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Neighbors are searching for a suspect after car break-ins in several neighborhoods on Jacksonville’s Westside.
The latest thefts happened over the weekend in the Weston Homes neighborhood at the intersection of 103rd Street and Weston Living Way.
Now, the neighborhood association said it wants the thief caught.
Residents told News4Jax it’s a beautiful neighborhood composed of many families with ties to the military, but it’s recently taken a turn.
According to residents, a group of people have been helping themselves to their possession and they want the culprits to be identified.
“Our neighbors informed us that their car got broken into. The garage door opener was the only thing stolen, which is scary thinking someone is going to come into your home while you’re working. That’s when we went to our cameras and we wanted to see who was going up into their vehicle. Sure enough, he got everyone in here,” Terri Brunkhorst said.
Brunkhorst and her husband caught a thief on surveillance video. In the video, a young man jiggles the handles of two cars to no avail and then he tries the next door. A few minutes later, the video shows him going up to the front door of the Brunkhorst residence and pulling the handle. The motion lights come on, he looks up at the camera and appears to realize he’s being recorded before then walking onto the next property, where he took the couple’s garage door opener, the video reveals.
“It’s a real violation. It certainly makes you feel less safe knowing someone is prowling around at your property,” Brunkhorst said.
Brunkhorst has lived in the neighborhood for four years said recent incidents like these are causing neighbors to move out. She said the neighborhood has an established neighborhood crime watch, but now neighbors are counting on the public to help them identify the thief.
“Be very, very careful because people are watching for you. And it will be unsafe for you to come back in here,” Brunkhorst said.
Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst, auto burglaries on the Westside have been a reoccurring problem and it’s important for people to remember to lock their cars.
“The auto burglaries that are occurring on the Westside, this is not new. We’ve been seeing them a lot over the years. And it hasn’t changed because some people still don’t lock their cars and thieves know that,” Smith said. “They’re quite simply going through neighborhoods and checking to see if car doors are locked or unlocked. If they’re locked, they’ll move on. If they’re unlocked, they’ll ransack the car.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.