Thieves target beachgoers

Crooks steal purses, wallets from beach towels, chairs

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Police want to warn you that thefts along the beach increase during the summer months.  Thieves prey on beachgoers, watching and waiting for them to go for a walk or a swim and then steal their bags and wallets left on their beach towels.

"We all tend to bring too much stuff with us to the beach," said Sgt. Tom Crumley with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. 

He urges all beachgoers to leave their credit cards, social security cards, any valuables they don't want stolen, at home. 

"A small amount of cash, an I.D. and your car keys is all you should bring," said Crumley.

We were surprised to see how many people make this mistake or don't realize the risk.  One beachgoer left her purse in plain sight next to her chair for about 20 minutes.  We asked her if she realized someone could steal it. 

"I thought about it as I was walking back to my chair," said Morgan Najour. 

She showed us what she had in her purse.  Some cash, a credit card, her debit card and her social security card.  That's all a thief needs to steal her money and her identity. 

"With the thefts that we see at the beach, the reality is they are dressed in shorts and they look like everyone else.  They're wearing gym shorts and they blend right in," said Crumley, explaining how crooks conceal themselves. 

While it might be tempting to leave your valuables in the car before you walk to the beach.   Crumley says crooks know to look there too since they are aware someone will be gone for a while. 

We found a car that appeared to have a purse with a wallet inside on the back seat floorboard when we were walking through the parking lot next to Sneaker's Sports Bar in Jacksonville Beach. 

Crumley says thieves know where to look and are not deterred by a towel covering purses or laptops.  They know that trick, too. 

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