JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Jacksonville Beach Police Department has been seeing a string of car burglaries in the area over the past few months.
Police said there were 31 auto burglaries reported in May, 34 reported in June and 10 have occurred so far this month.
Most of the cars showed no sign of forced entry, which means most of them were unlocked, police said. Only one of the vehicles had a window smashed in.
The Police Department has a “Lock it or lose it campaign,” saying it only takes 30 seconds for a thief to break into a car and steal vehicles, 20 seconds for car owners to hide their valuables in the trunk and one second to lock the car.
“People get busy. They have the best intention to go back and lock their cars. And they get busy with things and they forget. I think the majority of the time when people do leave their car unlocked, it’s out of being busy and forgetting,” Sgt. Thomas Crumley said.
Police believe summer break and warmer weather are big factors in the high number of vehicle burglaries.
“We try to get the information out as much as possible and remind folks to please lock their cars. Please don’t keep items in your cars, even overnight or even going to the beach. If we can eliminate the opportunity for thefts, we can eliminate the thefts,” Crumley said.
Security footage from a home in the Ocean Terrace neighborhood shows thieves hitting several homes in one night.
We’ve lived in this area for 20 years and we’ve never had something like this so frequently. And it’s really alarming because we’ve always felt so safe,” said Connie Mohrman, who lives nearby.
Connie Mohrman and her husband, Kevin Mohrman, both said the burglaries are upsetting.
“My neighbor, friend, across the street, down the road, I know both of them were hit in the past month. Wallets, laptops, I think anything they can grab real quick. It’s just a very violating feeling to think that someone, even if your car is locked, that someone is in your driveway making an attempt,” Kevin Mohrman said.
Out of the 10 vehicle break-ins this month, only one has ended in an arrest. Police said a laptop was stolen and the thief tried to trade it for a phone, but was caught after the buyer saw the message, “Please call when found” on the home screen.
Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to contact the Police Department at 904-270-1661.