Thieves target Mandarin subdivision, steal from unlocked cars

Truck also stolen from driveway on Parkside Preserve Way, police say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New surveillance video showing thieves checking door handles and taking what they can from cars left unlocked has prompted a neighborhood crime alert for the Mandarin subdivision of Parkside Lakes.

It is a fairly new community that became a prime target for thieves who had no problem getting into neighbors' unlocked cars.

It was under the cloak of darkness between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning when police said thieves stole a truck, then burglarized and ransacked six other vehicles left parked in driveways along Parkside Preserve Way.

"Normally I lock the car. This time around I forgot, and I got unlucky and I got hit," Lee Velez said.

Velez's home-surveillance video captured not just one person, but two.

"You see the guy right there. He's getting in," Velez said. "While he's doing that, you see another guy coming in and he starts ransacking the other side."

Velez said the men ransacked his car but only got away with a few bucks.

"I did have a little bit of cash in there, $30, and they took that," Velez said. "They left my credit cards and my expensive sunglasses."

The video doesn't show if other suspects are involved, but it does show how easy it was for thieves to get what they came for.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said unlocked car doors and open car windows only make it easier for thieves to go undetected.

"They're going to come through every neighborhood. No neighborhood is safe," Smith said. "They're going to come through checking every car handles, seeing if they can get something."

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, another victim told police that between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. his truck was stolen as it was parked in his driveway on Parkside Preserve Way. Police said there was no evidence of forced entry.

Anyone who recognizes the people in the video are urged to contact police. So far, no arrests have been made and it's unclear how many people were involved.

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