JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three days after a 27-year-old woman was shot and killed when she confronted a car burglar outside her Riverside home, neighbors say the car break-ins have not stopped.
“It’s been a little unnerving seeing all this happened right in our backyard,” said Dylan Byrnes, who lives in Riverside.
Neighbors tell News4Jax they are fed up. They want to see an increase in patrolling in Riverside, but say it’s going to take a lot more than just the police to stop these crimes of opportunity.
Jacksonville police released a video they initially said was suspect after active-duty U.S. Coast Guard member Caroline Schollaert was shot and killed on Tuesday while she was on the phone with 911 reporting a car break-in near her Riverside home on Myra Street. On Thursday, they released an image of a second man they were seeking who might have information about the murder.
“We woke up to the sound of a police helicopter actually buzzing over the house,” Byrnes said.
Byrnes lives right around the corner from Myra Street. He said these thieves seem to know what they’re doing.
“They seem organized,” he said. “They managed to go through they evaded our cameras. They seem to be coming through at night around four in the morning looking for unlocked vehicles.”
According to JSO’s crime map, there have been six motor vehicle thefts and 32 car break-ins within the past month in this area.
“We just have to lock things up,” said Byrnes. “It seems like the people that are coming out because it’s a crime of opportunity and people see it as an easy target.”
Following the deadly shooting, police shared photos of people and a ford edge that they are looking for – who they believe may have information about the murder case.
Byrnes said there needs to be a Neighborhood Crime Watch.
“I think it’s going to require the community here to step up and be proactive and make it known and say if you come into our neighborhood we are watching and we will catch you,” he said.
Some neighbors expressed their frustrations because car break-ins in this area is nothing new and has only escalated. Other neighbors said many who own multiple cars, have no choice but to park on the street or near the sidewalk, making them prime targets for those who may forget to lock their doors.
Responding to a News4Jax request about patrolling in the area, the Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Christian Hancock replied:
The reward to find the person who killed Caroline Schollaert has grown to $9,000. First Coast Crime Stoppers says it’s received 10 tips so far.
A GoFundMe account was set up to pay for Schollaert’s funeral and to increase the reward.