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Car burglary victim warns others to lock vehicles

Money taken from unlocked car serves as crime alert for Rolling River Estates

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A thief was caught on a security camera entering an unlocked car in the Rolling River Estates neighborhood on Jacksonville's Northside and stealing about $5 in loose change from the console, according to police. 

While the burglar may not have gotten away with a fortune, the incident does serve as another reminder for people to never leave valuables in their cars and always lock their doors. 

The victim of the car burglary, who wished to remain anonymous, said he has certainly learned his lesson and hopes others can learn from his mistake. He said he had a lot of things in his hands when he went inside and never came back out to lock the doors.

The incident also serves as a crime alert for residents in Rolling River Estates. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office crime mapping tool, there have been 11 thefts, six vehicle break-ins four home burglaries and one vehicle theft reported since July. 

News4Jax has reported on many cases of unlocked car burglaries and decided to show the security footage to others to see if it could persuade those who don't already lock their cars to do so. 

For at least an hour Wednesday, News4Jax tried to find someone who would admit to not locking their car, but  could find anyone.

"It’s unfortunate we have to worry about that. I lived in a small town in Indiana where everyone left their house unlocked. But it’s not the culture we live in, so we’ve got to be aware and watch out," said Richard Barrett, who locks his car. 

Monica David, who also locks her car's doors, said she's surprised so many people don't lock their vehicles. 

"Not that you can't trust no one, but it's hard to trust everybody," David said. 

But something everything seemed to admit to was leaving valuables inside, even when their cars are locked.

"Usually it’s accidentally, but I’ve left my phone in the car," David said. " I’ve locked keys, even my own keys to the car, I’ve locked in there.”

Barrett said his wife's purse was stolen out of their locked car.

“It’s a big bummer when you have to replace your credit cards and driver’s license and cancel a checking account because your checkbook is stolen. I think once you’ve gone through the grief, you learn your lesson," he said. 

The car burglary victim said he will never forget to lock his vehicle again, but also hopes the burglar will learn a lesson and stop stealing.

In the surveillance video, the man isn't wearing gloves but police said the door was wet from rain and they were unable to get fingerprints. 

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said police will probably make another attempt to get fingerprints once the door is dry, and if that man has ever been arrested before, it will come up in their database.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.